The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), one of the leading national chambers of India, organized an interactive session with H.E. Dr. Ralf Heckner, Ambassador of Switzerland to India today. The session was attended by Mr. Pradeep Sureka, President of ICC, Dr. Rajeev Singh, Director General of ICC, Mr. Umesh Chowdhary, Honorary Consul, Consulate of Switzerland in Kolkata and Mr. Ameya Prabhu, Vice President of ICC.
Pradeep Sureka, President of ICC welcomed the esteemed guests and discussed on the close and dynamic relationship between India and Switzerland, and how Switzerland had emerged as a major source of FDI in the Indian market. Mr. Sureka, further mentioned that Switzerland was the eleventh largest trading partner for India, with a total bilateral trade amounting to USD 18 billion in the 1920s. The broad based cooperation between the two countries covered areas including trade, science, education and culture. It is the twelfth largest foreign investor in India, with the cumulative investment of USD 9.3 billion from April 2000 to June 2021. Traditional sectors of Swiss excellence such as engineering , industrial equipment, services, precision instruments, chemicals, pharmaceuticals continue to maintain top positions. Recent reform initiatives towards Atmanirbhar Bharat and the drive towards 5 trillion dollar economy have enhanced the potential for Swiss businesses in sectors like Clean technology, Lifesciences, Medtech, Financial services, Fintech, Construction materials and Equipments, Railways etc. Sound governance practices for inclusive growth can be learnt by India from Switzerland which has considerable knowledge and experience in establishing and nurturing sound governance practices. He added, “I am sure this session will offer a vibrant exchange of ideas to further deepen the economic partnership between the two countries in these challenging times.”
Umesh Chowdhary, Consulate of Switzerland in Kolkata expressed his gratitude to H.E. Dr. Ralf Heckner and further mentioned about His Excellency’s successful visit to Kolkata so far, which included meeting the Chief Secretary and different communities of the society. Mr. Chowdhary, also spoke about the Indian Chamber of Commerce, as it represented the entrepreneurial spirit not only of India, but particularly of eastern part of India, West Bengal.
The chief guest H.E. Dr. Ralf Heckner, Ambassador of Switzerland to India said, “ Switzerland is a country that is looking for investment opportunities, and in India there is a lot to explore in terms of different opportunities and forces with businesses. We need India as a strategic partner to be on top of the digital wave.” Further he mentioned that both Switzerland and India, are known for their innovations and opportunities to embrace in terms of exploring and collaborating. He also shared a detailed journey of his total tenure till date and how he looks forward to bringing changes in the coming time. Speaking about West Bengal, he appreciated and mentioned about the advocacy and promotion of the tourism industry in both the countries and look forward to successful investment on the same. He also focused on the point of introducing more Swiss investors to Bengal and the whole of India for business opportunities in every possible sector. At the end of his speech, he also discussed the possibilities of development in the research and development sector along with sustainable development initiatives with better privileges and opportunities, and also focused on the initiative towards promoting artisans and their skills to the international market.
The session witnessed interest from the Indian business community to invest in Switzerland in the sectors of Dairy, Responsible Tourism, FMCG, Infrastructure and Consumer Goods before being finally concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Ameya Prabhu, Vice President of ICC.
(Inputs by Pratyusha Mukherjee)