Swiss parliamentarians on goodwill visit to India

August 13th, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Somnath Chatterjee

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Amid continuing ambivalence about Switzerland’s position in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a Swiss parliamentary delegation Wednesday met Vice President Hamid Ansari and discussed with him a host of bilateral issues. Christoffel Brandli, speaker of the upper house of the Swiss parliament, the Council of States, headed the team in India on a goodwill visit to mark the 60th anniversary of the Indo-Swiss Friendship Treaty.

The Swiss side showed keen interest in strengthening cooperation with India in areas ranging from trade and scientific research to education, vocational training and culture, official sources said.

The two countries are keen to start talks soon on a free trade agreement to strengthen their bilateral relations, an official said.

The delegation, which arrived here from Mumbai Tuesday night where it met Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir, will also meet Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

With the 45-nation NSG scheduled to meet Aug 21 in Vienna, India is hoping that countries like Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Ireland and New Zealand who have strong views on non-proliferation will eventually come around and support the India-US civil nuclear deal.

New Delhi has been trying to convince Switzerland about India’s need for environmentally clean nuclear energy and its non-proliferation credentials. But Berne has not made its position clear on this sensitive issue.

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