4th India-Swiss Financial Dialogue

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    The 4th India-Swiss Financial Dialogue was held virtually through video conferencing

    About

    • Both the countries discussed economic matters as well as coordination on global pandemic situations.
    • The Indian delegation included representatives from the Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Revenue, Department of Financial Services and Ministry of External Affairs.

    Major Highlights

    • The Dialogue covered sharing of experiences by both countries for collaboration on various aspects including 
      • investments, 
      • International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA), 
      • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), 
      • FinTech, 
      • sustainable finance and 
      • cross border financial services. 
    • Further, matters relating to G20, IMF and tax challenges arising from the digitisation of the economy was discussed along with infrastructure financing. 
    • Both the countries shared views and perspectives on their respective countries and global economic scenario
    • Both sides emphasised the importance of coordinated bilateral action on a clean and resilient post-COVID world.

    India-Switzerland Relations

    Background

    • Switzerland established diplomatic relations with India soon after Independence
    • A Treaty of Friendship between India and Switzerland was signed at New Delhi on August 14, 1948; one of the first such treaties to be signed by independent India and an important milestone in Indo-Swiss relations. 
    • In 2018, India and Switzerland celebrated the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship. 
    • The relations between India and Switzerland have achieved new heights following the visits of the Prime Minister of India to Switzerland in 2016, 2018 and Swiss President  to India in August/September 2017. 
    • The Joint Statement issued during the visit of the Swiss President in 2017 noted the India-Switzerland relations as ‘A Long Standing Dynamic Partnership’
    • From 1971 to 1976, during and after Bangladesh’s struggle for Independence, Switzerland represented India’s interests in Pakistan.

    Indian Diaspora 

    • The Indian community in Switzerland comprises approximately 24,567 Indians including over 7,164 persons of Indian origin. Most of them are professionals in Engineering, IT, pharmaceuticals and paramedical fields. There are about 1000 Indian students studying in Switzerland. 
    • In 2016, there were about 850 Swiss nationals living in India.

    Commercial Relations 

    • Bilateral Trade: As per EXIM Bank, India figures, Switzerland was the 11th largest trading partner for India with the total bilateral trade including bullion, amounting to USD 19.263.38 million in 2018-19. 
    • Bilateral Investment: Switzerland invested FDI equity worth approximately USD 4.781 billion in India from April 2000 to September 2019 thus becoming the 12th largest investor and accounting for about 1.07% of total FDI in India during this period. 

    Science and Technology

    • An inter-Governmental framework Agreement on Technical and Scientific Cooperation was signed under which an Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme (ISJRP) was launched in 2005.

    Skill Training

    • Several Institutes from both countries have collaborated to impart the highest standards of skill training in India. Like
      • Bharatiya Skill Development Campus and University.
      • Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence, Pune.
      • Vocational Training Center, Andhra Pradesh

    Climate Change & Environment

    • An MoU on Technical Cooperation in the field of Climate Change and Environment between the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation has been signed in 2019

    Cultural relations & people to people contacts

    • The two countries do not have an institutional arrangement on cultural cooperation like Cultural Cooperation Agreement etc. Both sides have acknowledged the need for greater people-to-people contact at different levels, particularly in the field of academics, culture, cinema etc. to foster closer ties between the two countries. The Government of India extended the e-tourist visa facility to  Switzerland in 2016.

    Conclusion

    • The Dialogue concluded on a positive note for a sustained future collaboration between both countries in the areas of mutual interest.
    • India’s policy of non-alignment and Switzerland’s traditional policy of neutrality has led to a close understanding between the two countries. 
    • Both the countries have several bilateral dialogue mechanisms in place and this Financial Dialogue remains amongst the most important.

    International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA)

    • It was established as a statutory authority on April 27, 2020 under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019. 
    • It is headquartered at GIFT City, Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
    • It is a unified authority for the development and regulation of financial products, financial services and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in India. 
    • At present, the GIFT IFSC is the maiden international financial services centre in India. 
    • Prior to the establishment of IFSCA, the domestic financial regulators, namely, RBI, SEBI, PFRDA and IRDA regulated the business in IFSC.

    National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

    • It is a collaborative investment platform for international and Indian investors, anchored by the Government of India. 
    • The government had set up the Rs. 40,000 crore fund in 2015.
    • It invests across asset classes such as infrastructure, private equity and other diversified sectors in India, with the objective to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for its investors
    • NIIF has three funds each with its distinct investment strategy
      • Master Fund;
      • Fund of Funds; and
      • Strategic Opportunities Fund.
    • The funds are registered as Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

    Source: PIB