New Delhi, Aug 10: India and Switzerland discussed on Friday various aspects of bilateral ties, including the issue of curbing black money, as well as regional and multilateral issues during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis. According to a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry, the two ministers took stock of the progress made in key areas of interest such as trade and investment, education, information technology and tourism. Bilateral trade between India and Switzerland stood at $20 billion in the last financial year.
"Closer cooperation in the areas of skill development, renewable energy, traditional Indian medicine and climate change has the potential of mutual benefit and positive contribution at the global level," the statement said. Following on the Indian government's drive to curb black money, the ministers discussed the activation of automatic exchange of information. India's negotiations with the EU for a free trade agreement also came up in the discussion.
"A review was undertaken on the progress of the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement, which India and the European Free Trade Area countries are currently negotiating," according to the statement.
"The two ministers reiterated their strong commitment to early finalization of the agreement while showing flexibility on each other's concerns." Both sides also had detailed talks on Ayurveda, which Switzerland recognizes as a system of medicine. "The aspect of enhanced people to people interactions through facilitation of tourist and business visas was also discussed at length," the statement said.