60th anniversary of the India-Switzerland Treaty of Friendship
(Last modification 14.08.2008)
Bern, 14.08.2008 - On 14 August 1948, it was with Switzerland that the newly independent state of India signed its first treaty of friendship. The 60th anniversary of this event is to be marked today with a solemn exchange of messages signed by Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey and her Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee. A series of manifestations both in India and Switzerland will celebrate this achievement in their bilateral relations, which have not ceased to gain in importance and diversity.
Today in New Dehli, the President of the Council of States, Christoffel Brändli, leads a Swiss delegation at the official evening event which will be attended by prominent people from the political economic, scientific and cultural worlds. The participants will include the astronaut, Claude Nicollier, and the historian and journalist, Bernhard Imhasly, author of a book that retraces the 60 years of relations between the two countries.
Today, the message that Switzerland addresses to India solemnly confirms the friendship established in 1948; it pays tribute to the excellent state of bilateral relations and proposes the further development of their partnership. In the message of it’s foreign minister, India responded favourably. Swiss-Indian relations, which are characterised by 50 years of co-operation and development, have in the meantime taken on a new dimension; that of a privileged partnership.
In addition to the political dialogue on subjects of mutual interest and on global issues, bilateral contacts highlight the importance of economic and trade issues, the development of scientific and technological co-operation, and the transformation of development programmes to give greater importance to the environment and to energy issues. To this can be added the growth in tourism in both directions and the increase in cultural exchanges. India, where pro Helvetia opened an office in 2007 and where a “Swissnex” is in the process of being established in Bangalore, has become a priority country for the Presence Switzerland Commission for the period 2008-11.
The 60th anniversary celebrations, which are being co-ordinated by Presence Switzerland, include exhibitions, publications, conferences and exchanges. In both India and Switzerland this programme, which can be viewed in detail at www.indiaswitzerland.org, assesses the last 60 years of relations between the two countries and takes a look at the future, addressing a number of different aspects. The foundations of Swiss-Indian relations were laid before 1948 by the Swiss pioneers of the 19th century and through the personal relations that the “fathers” of modern India, Gandhi and Nehru, developed with Switzerland. Switzerland was one of the first states to recognise Indian independence and the first to conclude a treaty of friendship with India.
These festivities were launched in November 2007 during the state visit by Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey to India in her capacity as President of the Swiss Confederation. They are to be extended in particular on 22 August 2008 in Zurich with a evening event entitled “Grüezi India” which will be attended by two Indian ministers and the head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
For further information:
- on the activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary: please visit http://www.indiaswitzerland.org and contact Mirjam Matti, head of Corporate Communications, Presence Switzerland, Tel.: 031 325 07 46, firstname.lastname@example.org
- on questions concerning relations between India and Switzerland: please contact Nadine Olivieri Lozano, FDFA Information; Tel. 031 322 34 73
Address for enquiries
Press and Information Service
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Last modification 03.10.2018