Switzerland established diplomatic relations with India 75 years ago. During their working meeting, Mr Fasel and Mr Verma discussed this long history of diplomatic relations that the two countries are now celebrating. Switzerland's embassies and consulates in India have planned 75 events to mark the anniversary. The two secretaries also voiced appreciation of the regularity of direct exchanges between the two countries, and of the prospects for expanding them.
In this vein, Mr Fasel and Mr Verma agreed to step up the existing bilateral partnerships in digitalisation, innovation and sustainability. Since 2011, the two countries have been meeting regularly at the Indo-Swiss Joint Committee on Science & Technology and coordinating their various bilateral activities and programmes. They envisage pursuing promising prospects in education, research and innovation together. An initial dialogue on digitalisation has already taken place. The Swissnex hub in Bangalore has launched the Innovation Platform project, which targets health, sustainability and digital transformation.
The in-depth negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the European Free Trade Association were also touched on at the meeting.
The two secretaries also spoke about the latest developments in Ukraine and the Middle East, as well as climate, migration and human rights issues. The discussion on cooperation in multilateral organisations focused on Switzerland's work at the UN Security Council, of which it is a non-permanent member in 2023–24.
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