Swiss and Indian officials discuss ways of strengthening ties

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss (right), greets his Indian counterpart, Jaswant Singh, near Berne Keystone

The Indian foreign minister, Jaswant Singh, was in Berne on Monday for meetings with the Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, and the economics minister, Pascal Couchepin. They discussed ways of strengthening ties between the two countries.

This content was published on September 4, 2000 - 17:56

Officials said they were also looking at the conflict in Kashmir, and the issue of nuclear proliferation.

A Swiss diplomat said India's economic liberalisation programme would be at the forefront of the talks. Switzerland is one of the top 10 foreign investors in the country.

Switzerland is also expected to renew its call for India to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. In common with other countries, Switzerland condemned the underground nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan in 1998.

At the time, the Swiss government threatened to suspend development aid to India as a result of the tests, and eventually cut its aid budget by SFr3 million ($1.75 million). Swiss aid to India currently stands at SFr30 million a year.

Singh's visit to Berne was the first by an Indian foreign minister for nearly 20 years.

The former Swiss foreign minister, Flavio Cotti, went to India in 1998. The foreign ministry said Deiss had received an official invitation to India, and might go next year.

swissinfo with agencies

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