Geneva, June 6 (IANS) Inviting a galaxy of Swiss business leaders to invest in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here 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 ministry of external affairs.
“We want to have manufacturing of global standards. Hence Swiss model of skill development very relevant for us,” the prime minister said.
“India is not just a market of 1.25 billion. We have skills and a government open to business,” Modi added, according to another tweet.
“ABB, Lafarge, Novartis, Nestle, Rieter, Roche… A who’s who of Swiss business at Round Table with Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Swarup said in another tweet.
Modi arrived in Switzerland from Qatar on Sunday night on the third leg of his five-nation tour.
Prior to his departure from New Delhi, 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,” the prime minister had said.
CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.
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 the year 2009 to 2014.
According to Swiss customs data, bilateral trade was at Swiss Franc 3357.4 million in 2014 showing a decline of five per cent over 2013, with Swiss exports to India showing a decline of 13 per cent.
Switzerland is an important member of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
During Modi’s visit India is expected to seek Switzerland’s support in becoming a member of the NSG.