The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, along with Mr. Ueli Maurer, the President of the Swiss Confederation, addressed the Federal Council of Switzerland in Berne today (September 13, 2019). The Federal Council is the highest executive authority in Switzerland. It comprises seven members, who are elected by the Federal Assembly.
In his address, President Kovind said that India - Switzerland partnership has made significant progress. Our complementary strengths make us natural partners. India is the world's fastest-growing major economy. We have set a target to become a 5 trillion economy by 2025. Around 65 percent of our population is below 35 years of age. Our youth has the drive, energy, and confidence to script the machine-intelligence age and to draw the contours of the 4th Industrial Revolution. We are skilling and empowering them to convert our demographic profile into a demographic dividend. We count on Switzerland's cooperation to make them drivers of our growth and prosperity.
The President was happy to note that India-Switzerland will have the first automatic exchange of information on tax matters in the coming weeks. He said that it is a very positive development. The President highlighted the linkages between tax evasion and money laundering with terrorism. He said that the scourge of terrorism is among the gravest challenges that the world faces today. India has been a victim of state-sponsored terrorism for decades and it seeks Switzerland's support to enhance global efforts to defeat and destroy all manifestations of terrorism, he said.
The President emphasized that there is a need to strengthen India-Switzerland joint work in the multilateral arena. He said that in order to be effective, international institutions need to reflect the realities of the contemporary world. He thanked Switzerland for its consistent support for India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. He said that India is committed to working with Switzerland to fight climate change. India also looks forward to Switzerland joining the International Solar Alliance.
Later today (13.09.2019), the President will lead the delegation-level talks with his counterpart, witness the signing of MOUs/agreements and address the India-Switzerland Business CEOs Forum. He will also attend a banquet hosted by the Swiss President in the evening.
Meanwhile, yesterday evening (September 12, 2019), the President attended Indian Community and Friends of India reception hosted by Shri Sibi George, Ambassador of India to Switzerland in Berne. Addressing the gathering, the President said that India is proud of its vibrant and diverse diaspora which has earned respect throughout the world. In Switzerland, our Diaspora includes members of Federal and Cantonal Parliaments, CEOs and senior executives of several companies, senior Government officials, professors, doctors, engineers, and medical professionals. We also have an increasing number of Indian students at premier Swiss Universities. All of them are the bridge that brings our two countries closer to each other. He appreciated the Indian Embassy and the Indian Associations in Switzerland for the growing cultural engagement between our two peoples.
(With Inputs from PIB)