Your Excellency, President Johann Schneider-Ammann,
Friends, Thank you, Excellency, for your warm remarks and generous welcome. I feel the weight of history, standing here with you in this truly international city-Geneva. And, not just international, but a city with a humanitarian soul. After all, it is home to the Red Cross, and headquarters of several international organisations devoted to serving mankind.
Friends, India and Switzerland have both been the voices of peace, understanding and humanitarian values in the world. In last seven decades, our friendship has consistently seen an upward trajectory. Today, President and I reviewed our multifaceted bilateral ties. We also held detailed discussions with Swiss CEOs.
Friends, the economic links between our two countries are strong and vibrant. Many Swiss companies are household names in India. Ties of collaboration in trade, investment, science and technology and skill development benefit both our societies. India has affirmed it's readiness to resume FTA talks with EFTA. We are all aware of the strengths of the Swiss economy. But, India too is undergoing profound transformations. We are today the fastest growing economy in the world. But, that alone is not enough.I want the Indian economy to be driven by smart and sustainable cities, robust farm sector, vibrant manufacturing and dynamic service sector. And, its engines to run on world class network of rail, roads, airports and digital connectivity. Where a home for everyone, and electricity in every home is a reality. And, its 500 million plus youth is skilled and ready to meet the global needs of manpower. President and I agreed to build on the Swiss Vocational and Educational Training system suited to India's needs Yesterday we observed World Environment Day. In tune with its objectives and India's civilisational ethos an economically prosperous India will also be friendly to the planet and our environment. Reliance on renewable energy, rather than on fossil fuels would be our guiding motto.
Friends, 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.
Friends, 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.
Friends, strong ties between the people of our two countries are an important base and benchmark of our linkages. Thanks to the Indian film industry, we are very familiar with the enchanting beauty of the Swiss landscapes. But, we are also keen to welcome larger number of Swiss visitors to India. For this, we have opened the facility of e-Tourist Visa for Swiss nationals earlier this year.
Friends, there are many success stories of our relationship. One that has been making waves in the Grand Slams of the tennis world is the partnership of famous Swiss player Martina Hingis with Sania Mirza and Leander Paes of India. I am confident that our common commitments and values, people to people links and a strong and growing economic partnership will take our relations to new heights.I thank you, Excellency, once again for hosting me in Geneva.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
First Published On : Jun 6, 2016 15:18 IST