- Excellency, India and Switzerland are celebrating 70 years of bilateral ties this year. How do you view the relationship between the two countries so far?
India and Switzerland have a long standing dynamic partnership. Switzerland was the first country with which India signed the Treaty of Friendship in 1948. Our bilateral relationship is underpinned by our common values such as democracy and pluralism. The relationship has gained tremendous momentum in the last two years subsequent to the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Geneva in June 2016. It was followed by the state visit of the Swiss President H.E. Ms. Doris Leuthard to India in August – September 2017. Prime Minister Modi again visited Switzerland in January this year. He met the Swiss President H.E. Mr. Alain Berset in Davos and also gave the keynote address at the Plenary of the 48th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum. Last month, Swiss Foreign Minister, Dr. Ignazio Cassis was in India on an official visit. I can firmly say that the India-Switzerland relationship is at its highest peak ever.
- Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been the first Indian PM to make a bilateral visit to Switzerland. He also gave the keynote speech at the WEF’s meet this year. How significant do you think is this visit in strengthening of ties between India and Switzerland?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Switzerland this year was a historic visit. During the meeting with the Swiss President H.E. Mr. Alain Berset, the entire gamut of India-Switzerland bilateral relationship was discussed and reviewed. Prime Minister Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to make the inaugural address at the World Economic Forum. The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has added a lot of content and provided a detailed agenda for the relationship.
- What is your message for the readers of Diplomacy and Beyond Plus?
The India-Switzerland relationship is full of potentialities. The recent high level interactions have brought in momentum in the relationship. However, we need to keep working to broaden and deepen the various aspects of bilateral relations. Let us all work together in expanding the horizons of the India-Switzerland relationship. For the Indian and Indian-origin readers, I should emphasise that the Indian Embassy in Berne is a ‘Home Away from Home’ for them.