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International Relations

India Switzerland Relations

  • 09 Dec 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

A virtual meeting took place recently between an Indian Minister and his Swiss Counterpart.

Key Points

  • Trade:
    • Both the Ministers reiterated the desire to move forward on the India-EFTA Trade & Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) negotiations.
      • The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
      • These countries are not part of the European Union (EU) with which India is negotiating a separate trade agreement called the India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement.
    • The proposed agreement covers trade in goods and services, investments, trade facilitation, customs cooperation, protection of intellectual property and public procurement.
    • India-Switzerland Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)which is under negotiation was also discussed.
      • BITs are treaties between two countries aimed at protecting investments made by investors of both countries.
  • Multilateral Forums:
    • The Indian Minister sought support of Switzerland for the joint proposal of India and South Africa in World Trade Organization (WTO) for TRIPS waiver.
      • South Africa and India have called for the (WTO) to suspend intellectual property (IP) rights related to Covid-19 to ensure equitable sharing of vaccines and new technology to control the pandemic.
        • A temporary ban would allow multiple actors to start production, instead of having manufacturing concentrated in the hands of a small number of patent holders.

India Switzerland Relations

  • Background:
    • India and Switzerland have had cordial and friendly relations since India’s Independence, based on shared values of democracy and rule of law. A Treaty of Friendship between India and Switzerland was signed at New Delhi in 1948.
  • Economic Relation:
    • Trade:
      • As per EXIM Bank, Switzerland was the 11th largest trading partner for India in 2018-19.
    • Investment:
      • Switzerland invested FDI equity worth approximately USD 4.781 billion in India from April 2000 to September 2019 thus becoming the 12th largest investor and accounting for about 1.07% of total FDI in India during this period
  • Science and Technology:
    • During the visit of Swiss President to India in 2003, an inter-Governmental framework Agreement on Technical and Scientific Cooperation was signed under which an Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme (ISJRP) was launched in 2005.
  • Skill Training:
    • Several Institutes from both the countries have collaborated to impart the highest standards of skill training in India. E.g.:
      • Bharatiya Skill Development Campus and University.
      • Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence, Pune.
      • Vocational Training Center, Andhra Pradesh.


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