PM meets Swiss CEOs, discuss ways of deepening economic ties

06 June 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed bilateral ties between India and Switzerland with Swiss President Schneider-Ammann and discussed ways of expanding collaboration in trade, technology, skill development and renewable energy.

The prime minister shared the views that the common commitments, values, people-to-people and economic ties will take India-Switzerland relations to new heights.

A group of Indian scientists and students at CERN also met the Prime Minister in Geneva today.

Earlier, addressing business leaders at a business roundtable with Swiss CEOs in Geneva today, the prime minister said India's economy is growing rapidly and the coming together of our development needs and Swiss strengths can be beneficial.

While the economic linkages between the two nations are strong and vibrant, the prime minister said that India is not just a market of 1.25 billion, ''we have skills and a government which is open to business.''

He said India wants to have manufacturing of global standards and hence the Swiss model of skill development is very relevant to it.

Modi spoke about the steps his government has taken to make it easier to do business in India and went on to list his targets including generating 175 giga watts of solar energy.

For India to develop, it needs upgradation of infrastructure at a massive scale. "We need to build metro train services in 50 cities, have to construct 50 million affordable houses, railway network has to be expanded and upgraded and technology has to improve," he said.

Modi also affirmed India's readiness to resume FTA talks with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

However, he said, India is undergoing profound transformations while the economy is growing fast, India wants the economy to be driven by smart and sustainable cities, robust farm sector, vibrant manufacturing and dynamic service sector, and it needs to run on world class network of rail, roads, airports and digital connectivity.

President and I agreed to build on the Swiss Vocational and Educational Training system suited to India's needs, he said, adding that its 500 million plus youth is skilled and ready to meet the global needs of manpower.

''We see a perfect connect between our development needs and Swiss strengths. I, therefore, invite the Swiss companies to avail of this great opportunity to be a key partner in India's economic growth. Ultimately, the economic prosperity of 1.25 billion plus would also benefit the entire world,'' Modi said in a joint declaration.

Modi said India and Switzerland also share a commitment to reform international institutions in line with current global realities. We have both agreed to support each other for our respective bids for the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council. ''I am also thankful to the President for Switzerland's understanding and support for India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

''Combating the menace of "black money" and tax evasion is also our shared priority. We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders. An early start to negotiations on the Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information would be important in this respect.''

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