H Siddiqui / New Delhi
India and Switzerland today signed two MoUs for exchanging technical cooperation in Railways. The pacts were inked following delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Swiss president.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also thanked Switzerland for supporting for India’s MTCR and Nuclear Suppliers Group membership. He said India and Switzerland working on a new bilateral investment treaty.
Prime Minister termed the Climate change is a big challenge and called for implementing Paris agreement to meet the challenges.
Bilateral trade relations, free-trade agreement between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which Switzerland is a member were among the wide range of issues discussed when the leaders of the two countries met in New Delhi on Thursday.
At the end of talks between the two countries two MoUs were exchanged: Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich & Ministry of Railways and Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications of the Swiss Federation on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector.
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”.
Besides thanking the visiting Swiss leader for her support in MTCR membership, New Delhi will continue to work with Berne to combat black money, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Swiss President Doris Leuthard told the media in a joint address.
“Transparency in financial transactions is an issue of concern in today’s world, whether it is black money, dirty money, hawala or arms and drugs financing,” Modi said. “To combat this global problem, we will continue to cooperate with Switzerland.”
“Madam President, you visiting India when we are celebrating 70 years of independence and 70 years of Indo-Swiss Treaty of Friendship & Establishment,” he said.
According to the prime minister foreign direct investment was an important pillar of economic cooperation between India and Switzerland. “We especially welcome Swiss investors in India. We agreed to continue discussions on a bilateral agreement regarding this. Swiss companies have a lot of expertise to partner India in its road to development.”
Doris Leuthard, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, has started a two-day presidential visit to India – accompanied by an unusually large 30-head business delegation. After her ceremonial welcome, Leuthard said Switzerland had one of the strongest laws against money laundering and hoped other countries would follow suit.
“I hope this visit will boost Indo-Swiss ties. Pending negotiations on trade and partnership will be done. We will try to have a new investment protection agreement,” Leuthard said after the welcome. “Switzerland is one of the most innovative countries in the world… that will bring jobs to India,” she added.
The two leaders also attended a meeting of business leaders of India and Switzerland.
Switzerland is the seventh largest trading partner for India with a total bilateral trade, including merchandise exports, bullion and IT services and software exports, of $18.2 billion in 2016-17.