Switzerland’s President Leuthard begins her India visit today
The Dollar Business Bureau
Switzerland’s President Doris Leuthard has started her three-day visit to India from Thursday, which is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and to discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest.
The visit of Swiss President to India assumes high significance as India is looking for its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the 48-nation nuclear club, of which Switzerland is currently the chair.
Leuthard is accompanied by a huge business delegation and will hold discussions with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
“Both countries share common views on many major global issues. The visit will provide an opportunity to both sides for holding wide-ranging discussions on bilateral, global and regional issues of mutual interest," according to a press statement, ahead of the visit.
Since 2005, India and Switzerland have been regularly conducting political discussions. Since 2012, both countries have been engaged in a discussion on consular and migration matters.
In June 2016, PM Modi had visited Switzerland, wherein the discussions were held on matters related to tax evasion and black money. During that visit, Switzerland also expressed to support India for the membership of NSG.
Switzerland is India’s seventh biggest trading partner with overall bilateral trade at $18.2 billion in 2016-17, which includes bullion, merchandise exports, software exports and IT services.
Switzerland is also the 11th largest investor in India with an investment of approximately $3.57 billion from April 2000 to September 2016, accounting for around 1.2% of the overall foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country during the given period.
The two countries have signed a number of bilateral agreements in various sectors such as trade, finance, investments, vocational education and training, development cooperation, migrations, visas, air traffic, disaster management, taxation and science and technology.
Next year, India and Switzerland will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Swiss-Indian Treaty of Friendship inked in August 1948, an important milestone in the bilateral relations.