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Remarks by Ambassador Sibi George at the MISSP 2.0 Business Event in Bern on February 7, 2020

Posted on: February 07, 2020 | Back | Print

Remarks by Ambassador Sibi George at the MISSP 2.0 Business Event in Bern on February 7, 2020

Business leaders, Friends of India, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening,

I thank Swisscleantech and Cleantech Alps for joining hands with the Embassy in organising this important event here in Bern today, under the banner of MISSP 2.0. I also thank SwissEnviro and Swiss Association for Environment Technology for their presence today.

We have lined up a group of experts to share updates and insights on the billion opportunities that India offers today in cleantech sector. We cover a wide range of topics including water, waste and circular economy, smart cities: mobility, clean energy and smart grids.

As Ambassador of India to Switzerland, I would like to recall that last few years have been excellent period in India – Swiss bilateral relations. Switzerland has emerged as one of the leading partners in India’s transformational journey particularly in science and technology and innovation. India’s Flagship Programmes like Make in India, Smart Cities, Digital India, Swachh Bharat (Clean India), Startup India, Skill India and other initiatives continue to resonate well in this land of innovation and competitive edge.

I recall the visit of a high level business delegation comprising over forty major companies that accompanied President of India to Switzerland during his State visit in September last year and the business round table jointly addressed by President of India and President of Switzerland. I am happy that two documents that we signed during the State visit were for cooperation in fight against climate change and also in forming an India – Swiss Alliance on Science and Innovation.

Another major business delegation from Energy and transport sectors visited India in October last year, accompanying the then Vice President and current President HE Madam Simonetta Sommaruga, who is also the Federal Councillor for Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications.

In Davos last month, our delegation led by Minister of Commerce and Industry and Railways Mr. Piyush Goyal held a series of meetings including with HE Mr. Guy Parmelin, Vice President and Federal Councillor for Economic Affairs.

We also had high level of participation from various Ministries of Government of India and by Chief Ministers of various States. Some of you had meetings with the India team in Davos. I am excited to see the overwhelming response that we get in various cities of Switzerland on our outreach programme through MISSP.

Dear Friends,

In the past, India was often portrayed, rather incorrectly, as a reluctant actor in committing to a global climate agreement, even when its per capita emissions were only a fraction of the developed countries. But today the situation has changed completely. Today, India is acting full swing in meeting its commitment to meet the target in Sustainable Development Goals. The SDG Index for States that Government of India, launched in 2018, ranks all states based on 100 nationally identified indicators. It aims to measure and monitory the progress of India and its States towards the SDGs for 2030.

Through a mix of policy and advocacy, there has been fundamental shift in the way in which India combats climate change. At Paris, it was our mediation that brought together different constituencies and interests. In fact, according to the research consortium Climate Action Tracker, there are just five countries whose energy policies can be reconciled with the 2-degree goal outlined in the Paris Agreement: Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the Philippines and India. We are doing better than Europe.

Not only has India shown leadership through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, but it has made commitments at home. The founding of the International Solar Alliance led to a massive global adoption of solar technology. India itself has now built a renewable capacity of 120 GW, well on our way to reach the target of 175 GW by 2022. The new ambition is to establish 450 GW of renewable capacity by 2030.

But as you all know, the fight against climate change is much larger than just renewable energy and greater energy efficiency. It involves a virtual overhaul of our lifestyle, whether it be smarter cities, mass transportation, sustainable agriculture or water usage. These are today integral elements of the Government’s larger strategy to combat climate change. These are the topics that we cover here today.

Dear Friends,

I do not want to get into the technical details of the opportunities that India offers for Swiss companies for collaboration in the cleantech sector, that I leave to our experts. By 2024, we aspire to make India a five trillion dollar economy. We have jumped 79 positions to 63 in 2019 from 142 in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business. We propose to invest US $ 1.4 trillion in infrastructure over next five years. Five new Smart cities are proposed to be developed with States in PPP mode. 100 more Airports to be developed by 2024. In all these targets, there is vast scope to combine our relative advantages, in capital, technology, science and human resources, and to work for mutual benefit.  India has immense possibilities, countless opportunities, a billion opportunities.

I invite you to partner with the MISSP 2.0 programme that we have launched specifically for SMEs in Switzerland.

I look forward to a fruitful interaction today.

Thank you.