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Indo-Swiss ties: from Alps to Himalayas


The three day visit of Swiss president saw its usual stuff-Ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, paying tributes at Samadhi of Father of Nation, meet with business leaders and press statements at the iconic Hyderabad House. It was reciprocal visit. Remember Prime Minister Modi visited the country last year. The big take away from that was Switzerland backing India’s Nuclear suppliers group member. This is important. Switzerland is the chairing NSG this year. Earlier this year when NSG met in Geneva, the final statement at the end of the meet said “discussed the NSG relationship with India” sending out a signal that things are in progress.


Swiss president during the visit said that Automatic Exchange of information will be passed by Swiss legislature by end of this year and it will be implemented by 2019. So on 22-November-2016 India and Switzerland Signed ‘Joint Declaration’ for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) between the two countries. Sushil Chandra, Chairman, CBDT signed the ‘Joint Declaration’ on behalf of India while Gilles Roduit, Deputy Chief of Mission of Swiss Embassy in India, signed on behalf of Switzerland, for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) between India and Switzerland. As a result, it will now be possible for India to receive from September, 2019 onward, the financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years, on an automatic basis. The frame work for this accord was laid during Prime Minister Modi’s visit last year. Automatic Exchange of Information agreement still needs to be ratified by the Swiss parliament and once it gets ratified by end of this year things will get more transparent.


During the visit 2 MoUs were signed in the railway sector. Memorandum of Understanding on technical cooperation in the railway sector. It envisages technical cooperation in the areas of railway safety and technology that will promote efficiency and sustainability in the transport sector. Another one was Memorandum of Understanding between Konkan Railway Cooperation Limited (KRCL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH Zürich). Railways are the lifeline for India. Government is doing its best to improve the situation. Bullet train is also on the anvil. Any help is good help for India.


But this year also marks 70 year since the 14 August 1948 Swiss-Indian Friendship. Swiss embassy let no stone unturned to mark the event. Swiss president honoured MS Swaminathan, Father of Indian green revolution. Yash Chopra was also remembered. Remember lot of Yash Chopra movies were shot in swiss locales eg Chandni, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. A statue of Yash Chopra was also unveiled in the swiss town of Interlaken in Bern in 2016. The crowds, most of whom were Indian went wild when Swiss President mentioned the name of Roger Federer. As is usually the case– India is represented by a minister. Union Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Mansukh L. Mandaviya represented India. Remember Swiss are known to cut mountains to build roads, a technology that is helping India too.


The visit comes at a time when India is putting more focus on Europe. Earlier this year Prime Minister Modi visited 4 European countries– Spain, Germany, France and Russia. Europe today is searching for allies. Allies who Europe can bank upon. In an uncertain world – India can be that stable, democratic and stead fast partner.

Sidhant Sibal, Correspondent

This post first appeared on Daily Kiran, please read the originial post: here

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Indo-Swiss ties: from Alps to Himalayas


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