Federal Councillor Alain Berset rounds off visit to India

Bern, 03.10.2012 - On the last day of his three-day visit to New Delhi, the head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA, Federal Councillor Alain Berset, met the Minister of Science and Technology, Shri Vayalar Ravi. They signed a joint declaration stating that India and Switzerland want to pursue and widen their cooperation in the field of science and technology from 2013 to 2016. India is already an important partner for Switzerland in this area. In addition, Federal Councillor Berset intensified Indo-Swiss cooperation in the fields of health and culture. India, with a population of 1.2 billion, is Switzerland’s fourth largest trade partner in Asia.

Following a lively discussion which took place in a friendly atmosphere, the two ministers jointly opened the second meeting of the Mixed Commission of the Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme (ISJRP). During the meeting, the bilateral agreement of 2003 on scientific and technological cooperation was extended to include the additional focal points of renewable energies and biomedicine. Two Indian research institutes (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology), which run projects with Swiss universities as part of the ISJRP were visited by the head of the FDHA with a high-ranking science delegation (FDHA, FDFA, FDEA, SNSF, CTI, EPFL, UNIL, Swiss TPH, Swissnex, FOPH).

Over the previous days of his visit to India, Federal Councillor Berset met with the Indian Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad. They agreed to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding on health care which should be ready to be signed in May 2013. The main topics covered include universal health coverage, non-communicable diseases, issues regarding pharmaceuticals, global health, complementary medicine and the challenges in health care posed by federalism. Federal Councillor Berset also sought to reinforce cultural exchanges between Switzerland and India with the Minister of Culture, Kumari Selja. The head of theFDHA also visited the locally-run office of Pro Helvetia, which shares the same aims, to find out about their activities.

Address for enquiries:

Peter Lauener, GS-FDHA, Tel. 079 650 12 34

peter.lauener [a] gs-edi.admin (p) ch


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