PM Modi meets Swiss President, discusses NSG membership, black money
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Swiss President Doris Leuthard on important matters concerning bilateral relations during the latter's visit to New Delhi. Modi raised several issues, including collaboration on innovative methods to trace black money and tax evasion, and India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The two leaders also inked two pacts on cooperation in the railway sector.
Leuthard kicked off her three-day visit to India on August 31. After receiving a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, she held discussions with Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Leuthard also interacted with the Indo-Swiss Business Council at Hyderabad House, New Delhi.
India has been seeking entry into the NSG, a 48-nation grouping of nuclear supplier countries, which controls the export of nuclear material and technology. Switzerland had expressed support for India's NSG membership during Modi's visit to the country in June 2016. Speaking to Leuthard, Modi stated that the NSG membership would help India meet its clean energy targets under the Paris Agreement.
India and Switzerland agreed to strengthen cooperation to fight tax evasion and black money during Modi's 2016 visit to Switzerland. In their most recent discussions, Modi termed financial transparency an issue of international concern. Leuthard expressed hope that the Swiss Parliament would clear a law on automatic exchange of information by end-2017. Both leaders also discussed new ways to collaborate on the matter.
Highlighting trade as an important issue, Leuthard emphasized the importance of arriving at a pragmatic solution to the long-pending free trade agreement between India and a four-nation European bloc. She also highlighted the need for a bilateral investment protection arrangement.