India and Switzerland have long shared democratic values
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, reached Switzerland yesterday evening (September 11, 2019) on the second leg of his visit to – Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia.
This morning (September 12, 2019), the President visited the University of Berne where he addressed students, faculty and members of the diplomatic corps. The topic of his address was “India – Switzerland new age partnership: connecting Alps with Himalayas”.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India and Switzerland have long shared democratic values, pluralism and enterprise. The world looks at both India and Switzerland with admiration. Switzerland is among the world’s oldest democracy wherein more than 2000 communes function democratically. And India is the world’s largest democracy with a 900 million electorate.
The President said that India-Switzerland rich cultural engagement had set the stage for bilateral cooperation long before we signed our Friendship Treaty. Today, there are over 250 Swiss companies operating in India and leading Indian tech firms and innovation majors in Zurich, Basel and Berne. Opportunities for us to collaborate and connect are immense.
Highlighting some important areas of collaboration between India and Switzerland, the President said that science, technology and innovation is fast moving to the centre of our ties. Over 80 scientific institutions and 300 researchers from India and Switzerland have connected with each other on joint programmes.
The President said that Switzerland is a world leader on innovation. India is also making new strides in the fields of Start-ups and smart solutions. India today hosts the third largest start-up network in the world with over 21,000 enterprises working on subjects as varied as robotics and vitiligo. Several Swiss and Indian start-ups have already join hands to create solutions for climate change, human health and more. India looks forward to many more such partnerships with Switzerland.
The President said that India has an ambitious programme to build 100 smart cities. Swiss expertise in circular economy and resource efficient knowhow can help us to build sustainable urban space, to clean our rivers and to process our food. Swiss clean technology and Indian green energy requirements are smart suitors to each other. Today, India has one of the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programmes. Our target is to have 175 Giga Watts of renewable power capacity by the year 2022.
The President said that India has nearly 20 percent of the world’s population with about 4 percent of the world’s renewable water resources. We are reviving traditional methods of water conservation and adopting modern innovations to reduce surface flow. Our new national water Mission – Jal Jeevan Abhiyan – with an investment of over 50 billion US dollars, aims to provide clean tap water to around 146 million households by 2024. The Mission opens new opportunities for Indo-Swiss collaboration. India wants to engage Switzerland on water governance, water use efficiency and treatment of waste water.
Later in the evening, the President will address the Indian Community and Friends of India at a reception hosted by Shri Sibi George, Ambassador of India to Switzerland in Berne.