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Remarks by Ambassador at the Luncheon Business Meeting in honour of Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Dr.) V.K. Singh Berne, Nov 26, 2018

Posted on: November 26, 2018 | Back | Print

Remarks by Ambassador at the Luncheon Business Meeting in honour of Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Dr.) V.K. Singh
Berne, Nov 26, 2018

Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Dr.) V. K. Singh, Madam Singh, Honorable Members of Swiss Parliament, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon.

Before we start today, I want to refer to the importance of November 26 in the history of India. It was on November 26, 1949 almost 70 years ago, the constituent assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, a constitution which established the world’s largest democracy.

Today, is very important anniversary in India’s fight against cross border terrorism. Nov 26 is the 10th anniversary of gruesome terrorist attacks in Mumbai. 166 innocent people lost their life and 300 innocent people were injured. We feel the pain of those who lost their loved ones in this terrorist attacks. It is the day a grateful nation bows to its security personnel who valiantly fought the terrorists. It is a day to rededicate ourselves in the fight against terrorism. I request all to observe one minute silence to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.

Thank you.

I welcome all to India House today. On my behalf, on behalf of my wife Joice and my colleagues from the Embassy.

It is my honour to welcome Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen (Dr.) V.K. Singh and Madam Singh today to Switzerland.

I also welcome the Honourable Members of Swiss Parliament and Your Excellencies Ambassadors to this lunch meeting. I thank the Members of Swiss Parliament who have come here today, despite it being the opening day of Swiss Parliament.

Ambassadors and officials present here head various Departments and Divisions in Government of Switzerland, and deals with India.

I also welcome members of the Indian diaspora representing various Indian Associations in Switzerland.
This is a very important year in India – Swiss relations. This year marks the 70th anniversary of signing of the Friendship Treaty we signed in 1948. We began the year with the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Switzerland in January to give the opening key note address at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. In his speech he highlighted the economic transformation that India witnessed in the last few years. He also highlighted ‘Vasudaiva Kudumbakam’ – ‘world is one family’ philosophy of India.

In the last few years we maintained highest level of engagement with Switzerland. We have three summit level visits in the last two years. Prime Minister visited Switzerland in June 2016 and January 2018. Swiss President visited India on a State visit in August 2017. Swiss Foreign Minister was in New Delhi and Varanasi in August this year.

At the economic level our engagement continue to grow. We have a bilateral trade of USD 20 billion, though it is hugely in favour of Switzerland. We have over 250 Swiss companies in India and over 100 Indian companies in Switzerland. We are special programme called the MISSP programme to engage medium and small scale companies in Switzerland. Under this program we have reached out to over 600 Swiss companies of which 30 have on boarded with us for concrete engagement with India.

We have made a presentation here on ‘Ease of Doing Business in India’ today. We have a multifaceted relationship ranging from science and technology, ICT, bio-technology, clean technology to yoga and Ayurveda.

We have a vibrant Indian diaspora, of nearly 25 thousand, actively engaged in deepening our cultural engagement with Switzerland. They contribute to the economic progress of Switzerland at the same time not forgetting their roots. Under the theme ‘Connecting Himalayas with Alps’ we are working with the diaspora to celebrate India in Switzerland, throughout the year.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary we have organized a Festival of India in Switzerland covering several cities of Switzerland. We are also working together to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. In fact I have been urging the Diaspora representatives to join us for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January at Varanasi.

Sir, once again I welcome you and Madam. May I request you to say a few words?