Geneva, June 6 (IANS) Inviting a galaxy of Swiss business leaders to invest in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that India needs to create an economy of the order of “two or three Switzerlands,” which provides a massive opportunity for partnerships.
“Within my country I need to create 2 or 3 Switzerlands. So scope for partnership is immense,” Modi told a gathering of heads of companies like ABB, Lafarge, Novartis and Nestle, according to a tweet by Vikas Swarup, the spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
Modi said that India wanted to “have manufacturing of global standards” and hence the Swiss model of skill development is “very relevant for us”.
“I invite Swiss companies to partner India’s economic growth,” he said in a joint press statement with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Amman after their talks.
“India is not just a market of 1.25 billion. We have skills and a government open to business,” Modi said, according to another tweet by Swarup.
“ABB, Lafarge, Novartis, Nestle, Rieter, Roche… A who’s who of Swiss business at Round Table with Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the spokesman said in a separate tweet.
Modi arrived in Switzerland from Qatar on Sunday night on the third leg of his five-nation tour.
Prior to his departure from India, Modi had described Switzerland as India’s key partner in Europe.
“In Geneva, I will meet prominent business persons. Our agenda will be to expand economic and investment ties. I will meet Indian scientists working at CERN. India takes pride in their contribution to exploring new frontiers of science in the service of humanity,” he had said.
CERN is the French acronym for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research that operates the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.
Switzerland is India’s fifth largest trade partner and 11th largest investor. Most Swiss multinationals like Nestle, ABB, Novartis, Roche UBS and Credit Suisse have operations in India.
About 100 Indian companies invested $1.2 billion between 2012 and 2014 in Switzerland, placing it among the top five European investment destinations and top-10 places globally for Indian investors.
Bilateral trade nearly tripled from $1.6 billion in 2004 to $4.5 billion in 2011. India’s merchandise exports to Switzerland have more than doubled from 2009 to 2014.
Following his delegation-level talks with President Schneider-Amman, Modi also received Switzerland’s support for India’s bid for membership of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), of which Switzerland is an important member.
The issue of black money also figured in the talks.