Black money, NSG on agenda as Modi meets Swiss President

06 June 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann in Geneva today, after he arrived in the Swiss capital on the third leg of his five-nation tour.

Modi arrived in Geneva on Sunday night from the Qatari capital Doha to deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the key European nation and seek support for India's entry in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Besides the NSG agenda, Modi will seek active support of the Swiss government in India's fight against black money.

''A late night arrival is followed by an early morning engagement. PM @narendramodi meets Swiss Prez Schneider-Ammann,'' external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

The two leaders thereafter led delegation-level talks.

''A closer engagement with the heart of Europe. President and PM lead delegation level talks #IndiaSwitzerland,'' Swarup said in another tweet.

Ahead of his five-nation tour, Modi had described Switzerland as India's key partner in Europe.

''I will hold talks with President Schneider-Ammann to deepen our bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

''In Geneva, I will meet prominent businesspersons. Our agenda will be to expand economic and investment ties. I will meet Indian scientists working at CERN. India takes pride in their contribution to exploring new frontiers of science in the service of humanity,'' he had said.

The prime minister is likely to raise the issue of black money stashed by Indians in Swiss banks.

Modi is also likely to seek Switzerland's support for India's membership of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group as it is a key member of the elite grouping.

Modi began his five-nation visit in Afghanistan and reached Qatar the same day. He left for Swiss capital Geneva on Sunday night. From Switzerlad, Modi will travel to the US and then to Mexico.

Earlier, on Sunday, addressing the Indian diaspora at the end of his two-day visit to Qatar, Modi said his government has cleaned up corruption on the surface and that a detailed clean-up remains.

"We have only cleaned up the surface (on corruption) and a detailed clean-up remains," he said.

He also took a dig at his detractors and said he was facing "problems" just because he had cracked down on graft and deprived the "sweets" to several people as he vowed to rid the country of the "termite" of corruption.

He likened criticism of the government's action to a child getting angry on being deprived of a sweet by his mother.

"Like at home, some child wants to eat sweets and his mother hides those from him...When the mother stops the child's access to the sweets, the child gets upset with her, howsoever, good she might be. I, too, have stopped sweets to several people. I will also face problems. But I can face these problems because of love from you people, from 125 crore Indians," he told the gathering.

Modi said due to his government's efforts to clean the system, Rs36,000 crore have been saved annually by stopping leakages and theft in government schemes.

"Can you imagine? We have saved Rs6,000 crore per year by stopping leakage and theft in various government schemes," he added.

Modi said 16.2 million fake ration cards have been detected and crores saved through subsidised wheat, rice, kerosene and LPG.

He said by stopping leakages and ensuring financial discipline and efficiency in governance, India is "moving fast" and growing at the high rate of 7.9 per cent despite two consecutive years of drought and an economic downturn globally.

"Corruption has made our country hollow, eating into its vitals like termite," Modi said in his 25-minute speech, which saw the diaspora repeatedly raising slogans praising him.

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