International Affairs


Our Excellency President Flavio Cotti,
Madame Renata Cotti-Naretto,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you Mr. President and Madame Cotti, to India. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to the distinguished members of your delegation. Your visit, Mr. President, is the first to India, by a Swiss President and therefore a landmark event in our bilateral relationship. It also coincides quite appropriately with the 50th anniversary of the 'Indo-Swiss Treaty of Friendship', which pledged "perpetual peace and unalterable friendship" between our two countries. We do believe that the interaction which is being initiated with your visit will provide a new momentum and dynamism to our bilateral relations and to our relations with the continent of Europe.

Switzerland, Excellency, as one of the oldest democracies, has been a model for many others. Your democratic structures and processes, have enabled popular participation at the basic level. We have always taken a keen interest in the Swiss model, since India, like Switzerland, is home to a diversity of religious and linguistic groups, the successful synthesis of which is the key to a flourishing democracy.

Excellency, our two countries have a long-standing economic and commercial relationship. This interaction, has been rewarding for peoples of both our countries. I trust that your visit, along with your business delegation, to the bustling metropolitan cities of Mumbai and Bangalore would have helped in opening up further opportunities for enhanced and mutually beneficial bilateral co-operation.

India, had earlier in this decade chosen to embark on the path of economic liberalisation and integration in the global economy. We have undertaken a series of economic reforms, aimed at deregulating the economy and to stimulate the entry of foreign enterprise and investment. Our economic fundamentals to-day are strong. Our experience has, however, shown that the success of economic reforms will depend on the creation of the necessary infrastructure in the country. We are aware of Switzerland's strengths in a number of key industrial areas and look forward to greater participation from your companies in the development of our infrastructure, in joint ventures and in expanding our commercial relationship. We do hope that in the interdependent and integrated world of to-day the internationally accepted principles of the WTO will prevail over the protectionist tendencies reappearing in some parts of the world.

Excellency we believe in a pluralistic world order, where no nation or group of nations dominate any other. It is our firm conviction, that every nation has the legitimate right to peace, security and strategic autonomy. While taking the minimum steps required to safeguard our national security, we have voluntarily declared a moratorium on nuclear tests and expressed our willingness to negotiate a no-first use agreement. Excellency, I would like to remind the international community that, we were, in fact, one of the first countries, to call for a complete ban on nuclear tests. Our unwavering commitment to nuclear disarmament and genuine non-proliferation has remained steadfast over the years and will continue to do so.

Excellency, we are committed to peace and prosperity in South Asia through the institutional means of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. We are also engaged in a composite, comprehensive dialogue with our neighbours for resolving our outstanding differences amicably and peacefully. We are hopeful that this process will be fruitful.

India has always valued its relationship with Switzerland. Our continuous interaction with your country in various spheres has brought our nations closer. Our relations have been marked by mutual understanding and co-operation. Your visit, Mr. President is a strong signal of the desire of our two countries, to enrich this relationship further, and to create new avenues for partnership. We look forward to working with you towards the achievement of this objective.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I request you to join me in proposing a toast
- To the health and happiness of the President of the Swiss Confederation, H.E. Mr. Flavio Cotti and Madame Cotti;
- To the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Switzerland; and- To the enrichment of relations between India and Switzerland

Thank you

Jai Hind