Subjects to be addressed during the official talks in New Delhi on Thursday, 31 August, include economic and trade relations, and in particular the free trade agreement being negotiated between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and India since 2008. Other subjects include cooperation between Switzerland and India on energy, transport and education. Exchanges on global climate policy, the situation in South Asia and the political and economic situation in Europe.
In addition to meeting President Kovind and Prime Minister Modi, Ms Leuthard, who will be accompanied on her visit by a business delegation, will also meet with several members of the Indian government. Meetings are scheduled to take place with the trade minister and the ministers for energy, the railways and finance. The president will give a speech on the opportunities of digitalisation at a business event in New Delhi. She is also due to speak with students about energy and climate change.
Strong historic bond
The main theme of the presidential visit is the Treaty of Friendship signed between Switzerland and India in 1948, in which the two countries gave assurances of ‘perpetual peace’ and ‘unalterable friendship’. Switzerland’s swift recognition of India’s independence in 1947 and the conclusion of the Treaty of Friendship laid the foundations for their good bilateral relations.
The president’s visit also marks the official launch of a series of events to celebrate the anniversary under the heading ‘70 Years of Swiss-Indian Friendship: Connecting Minds – Inspiring the Future’. The close relations enjoyed by the two countries in many fields today date back to this historic bond.
Switzerland and India have been holding a regular political dialogue since 2005. India is Switzerland’s fourth largest trade partner in Asia and the most important trade partner in southern Asia. The two countries hold regular exchanges through a mixed economic commission drawing on private sector expertise. The partnership extends beyond political and economic exchanges, also covering science, education and culture.
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