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Remarks by Ambassador Sibi George at Grand Finale of Festival of India in Berne, Dec 7, 2018

Posted on: December 07, 2018 | Back | Print

Remarks by Ambassador Sibi George
atGrand Finale of Festival of India in Berne, Dec 7, 2018

Excellencies, Friends of India, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin by welcoming all of you to this evening. I welcome Ambassadors who have joined us today. I also welcome members of Indian diaspora and friends of India.

This festival of India is part of a yearlong celebrations that the Indian Embassy in Berne is organizing all across Switzerland as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the signing of Friendship Treaty between India and Switzerland signed in 1948. Through this festival our endeavour is to connect Himalayas with Alps; India with Switzerland. We have a variety of artists from India performing during September to December 2018, to commemorate the 70th anniversary. We have one of most reputed Kathakali troupes from India performing for us. Yesterday they were in St Gallen and day before in Basel.So far we had fifteen performances all across Switzerland as part of the Festival of India.

Today with the grand finale of the Festival of India, we are concluding the festival of India. But we have a series of new events that planned for the year 2018 and 2019. We have an action packed December 2018. On December 17, we are opening a weeklong Namaste Switzerland in Berne.

This year, we are also celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation of India. On January 30, we have a philately exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi in Berne.

In recent years, there has been a deeper engagement of India and Switzerland in recent years. As you are aware, Prime Minister Modi was in Switzerland in June 2016. Swiss President was in New Delhi on a State visit in August 2017 during which we issued a forward looking comprehensive Joint Statement which calls for a ‘long standing dynamic partnership’. In January 2018, Prime Minister Modi was in Switzerland to deliver the opening key-note address at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. And in August this year we had the Foreign Minister of Switzerland H.E. Dr. Ignazio Cassis visiting New Delhi and the historic city of Varanasi. We maintain regular engagement with the political leadership in Switzerland and its Cantons.

Equally important is our business engagement with Switzerland which is growing rapidly. Our bilateral trade today is nearly USD 20 billion. The engagement between Indian and Swiss companies are deepening. Same is the case with other areas such as culture, movies, yoga, Ayurveda, tourism, cuisine and people to people exchanges.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that I see an India connect in every corner of Switzerland. Almost every museum in this country has some India connection. Every year several hundreds of thousands of Indians travel to Switzerland to appreciate the beautiful landscapes of Switzerland. Each year several thousands of Swiss nationals travel to India for tourism and business. The list of India’s engagement with Switzerland is long, we have a series of events lined up in coming months and weeks.

As you are aware the Embassy has set up an Indian Professionals Network (IPN) and Indian Cultural Network (ICN) which organize regular events. I once again invite you to our upcoming cultural and business events: Presentation on Indian Miniature paintings on Dec 14, Textile and khadi exhibition on Dec 19, Rumals of Chamba – Embroidered Cloth Exhibition on December 19, Inauguration of weeklong Namaste Switzerland – cultural gala by Indian diaspora on December 17, Presentation on KumbhMela on December 19.

And in January 2019, we have a very action filled month including through participation at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

Please keep in contact with us through social media - our website, Facebook and twitter. Please join us to experience India in Switzerland. I once again welcome you to this evening.

Thank you.