75 Success Stories

CapaCITIES: Switzerland to co-finance Tamil Nadu's first floating solar project
Coimbatore, 1-2 February 2023

Switzerland is proud to be a part of the success story of Tamil Nadu’s maiden floating solar power plant in Coimbatore. The city of Coimbatore was one of the first in India to adopt a climate action plan through CapaCITIES, a project supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). SDC’s Assistant Director General Christian Frutiger visited Coimbatore with the goal of furthering Swiss-Indian cooperation to promote climate resilience.

“Coimbatore wants to be the pinnacle of the 75th Swiss-Indian anniversary” Coimbatore’s Municipal Commissioner Prathap enthusiastically stated while welcoming SDC’s Assistant Director General Christian Frutiger, who was leading a high-level delegation to the city in February. The remarks were met with a huge applause by the delegation comprising Deputy Head of Mission Olivier Fink, Head of Climate and Environment Section Janine Kuriger and SDC’s Heads of Cooperation Corinne and Jonathan Demenge.

Coimbatore, the second largest city of Tamil Nadu (1.4 million population), was one of the first cities in India to adopt a climate action plan through the CapaCITIES project supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Through CapaCITIES, municipalities identify and address climate related vulnerabilities, plan low carbon development and respond in a systematic manner to immediate needs of their citizens in sectors such as waste, water, energy and transport.

The city has undertaken several innovative projects to move towards a low emission development future, such as the new 140kWp floating solar project on the Periyakulam lake front. The project is being co-financed by the city of Coimbatore, the state of Tamil Nadu and SDC for a total of INR 1.10 crores (CHF 0.12 million). It will be Tamil Nadu’s first floating solar power plant.

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India Chapter of the St. Gallen Symposium launched
New Delhi, 07 February 2023

February was a landmark month for people-to-people contacts between Switzerland and India. At an event at the Residence of Switzerland, the St. Gallen Symposium, which has strong ties to India, launched its India Chapter.

The opening Symposium’s theme was ‘A New Generational Contract.’ It captured the responsibility of the current generation to meet its own needs without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to meet their own. A panel discussion titled ‘A Sustainable Transformation – Learning from History to Build a Sustainable Economy’ examined the role that India, as the world’s largest democracy, could play in ensuring a healthy environment for future generations without jeopardizing its long-term development goals. Close to 80 persons, including the who’s who of Indian industry, as well as the Leaders of Tomorrow, represented by a brilliant group of students, participated in the event.

The St. Gallen Symposium is one of the best known platforms for intergenerational dialogue, where leaders of today and tomorrow from all walks of life come together to exchange knowledge, perspectives and opinions on the most pressing challenges and opportunities today. Participants from India are a significant part of the attendees of the Symposium (10% of the participants in 2021; one of the main partners). Furthermore, the words largest Leaders of Tomorrow Alumni community is based in India. India has been well represented at the Symposium in the past and this will be the case this year as well. Leaders of Today participating in the Symposium include CEO’s of Indian multinational companies and public figures, including at Ministerial level.

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Expanding Swiss Business Presence in North Eastern India
Gangtok, Guwahati and Kolkata, 13-17 February 2023

 

A delegation of Swiss companies to Sikkim and Assam, led by Ambassador Heckner, successfully highlighted Swiss technological expertise in addressing the issues of climate resilience, sustainable infrastructure, and equitable healthcare.

As India and Switzerland commemorate 75 years of diplomatic relations, a business mission was organized to Sikkim and Assam in light of the Indian Act East policy, the core of which is the North Eastern region. Eight Swiss companies – Belimo, Cotecna, Ferring, Geobrugg, Huber+Suhner, Schmiedewerke Stooss, SwissRe and Ypsomed – participated in the mission which was planned by the Swiss Embassy, the Swiss Business Hub India and the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency.

During the mission, awareness about the business opportunities in the region was raised, and Swiss companies’ strong competencies in providing technology and solutions to the most pressing concerns, such as climate resilience, sustainable infrastructure, and equitable healthcare, were highlighted. In Gangtok and Guwahati, high level engagements with the Chief Minister of Sikkim Shri Tamang, the Chief Secretary of Sikkim Shri Pathak, and the Chief Secretary of Assam Shri Borthakur were held. During a brief stay in Kolkata, the delegation was hosted by the Swiss Honorary Consul, Mr. Chowdhary, who also organized an engagement with the Chairperson West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) Smt Yadav. Additionally, the Swiss delegates had discussions with the heads of respective State Government departments, such as Commerce & Industries, Disaster Management, Skill Development, IT & Telecom, Railways, Health & Family Welfare, Agriculture, Highways & Infra, Mines & Geology, PWD, Revenue, and Finance.

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Building on Swiss-Indian ties: Scale shifts - A talk by Architect Manuel Scholl
Bangalore, 24 Feburary 2023
 
 
 
 

Building on Swiss-Indian ties in architecture, renowned Swiss architect Manuel Scholl showcases his work in India.

Swiss architect Manuel Scholl presented three of his projects at the intersection of architecture and urban planning at the InCITE gallery. These included his ongoing projects, such as the Esslingen town centre, the cover of the highway connecting Zurich and Schwamendingen, as well as the Adidas World of Sport, completed in 2014. Manuel Scholl has a long-standing connection with India. He studied a semester at CEPT Ahmedabad in the 80s as an exchange
student.

During his talk at the InCITE gallery, the Swiss architect discussed aspects of the Schwamendingen project, such as the idea of reducing noise pollution and hosting a green park on the roof of the highway. Many innovative sustainability-related initiatives will be part of the highway cover such as the creation of the biggest bee hotel in Europe that will be hosted in the park on the rooftop of the highway cover. The project exemplifies how nature, the city and citizens’ well-being can be integrated by building onto existing infrastructure instead of breaking down or expanding into previously unaffected areas. Later, participants engaged in conversations over dinner about the the future of urban architecture in India. Swiss-Indian conversations about architecture continue.

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A successful tradition: Swiss Exhibitors at PlastIndia 2023
New Delhi, 02 February 2023

A Swiss pavilion at the PlastIndia Exhibition is a tradition. It is indeed the oldest fair in India visited by Swiss businesses.

The establishment of a Swiss pavilion at the PlastIndia Exhibition by Switzerland Global Enterprise and the Swiss Business Hub India is a tradition. It is the oldest fair in India visited by Swiss businesses. This pavilion has been successfully organised for several pervious editions of the exhibition illustrating that the Swiss plastic technology and engineering companies have much to gain by being present in India. Ten companies were part of the Swiss Pavilion at PlastIndia 2023: AISA Automation Industrielle SA, Burckhardt, Buss AG, Maillefer SA, Netstal Maschinen AG, New Celio Engineering SA, Polytype SA, Sulzer Chemtech, Ultra System SA and SWISSMEM.

In order to interact with the Swiss exhibitors, the Swiss Business Hub India successfully organised a business networking event at the Swiss Embassy. More than 85 people from the plastics industry as well as representatives of Swiss companies were welcomed by the Deputy Head of Mission, Dr. Olivier Fink. The Swiss exhibitors introduced their respective businesses and technologies, with a special focus on sustainability, followed by one-to-one discussions with interested stakeholders.

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Ambassador Thomas Greminger, GCSP, visits India: Presents on panels at the Raisina dialogue and at the Swiss Embassy
New Delhi, 04-06 March 2023

Ambassador Thomas Greminger, Director of the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP), visited India in March 2023. The objective of his visit was to learn, first-hand, the country’s perspectives on trends and developments in geopolitics, geoeconomics and the new technology space.

The most remarkable outcome of his visit was Switzerland’s maiden participation at the Raisina dialogue, where he shared thoughts on the need for an international framework on AI communication. This was not all! He also participated at a well-attended panel ‘India – An Influencing Power in the New World Order?’ at the Residence of Switzerland on March 06. Later, the vibrant GCSP alumni community in New Delhi came together for interesting conversations at a reception organized at the sprawling lawns of the Swiss Embassy.

The GCSP offers dialogue, discussions, research and courses about security policy. Its target audience are security policy professionals who are already taking up responsibility in the field of security policy. The GCSP offers courses in Geneva and in various regions of the world it organizes and directs courses and guides them with expertise. It receives financial support from the Swiss government.

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Martin Vernier's pencil art inspired a talented Indian youth
New Delhi, 11 – 12 March 2023

At the annual Francophonie Mela, Swiss pencil artist Martin Vernier inspired hundreds of enthusiastic visitors. Over 2000 postcards with his art works dedicated to Indian scenes were offered. He also conducted a workshop in the famous Lodhi Garden and at the prestigious National Gallery of Modern Art attended by 50 talented students.

On 11 March 2023 at the annual Francophonie Mela held at Alliance Française in Delhi, the stand of the Embassy of Switzerland featured Swiss illustrator, independent archaeologist and researcher, Martin Vernier. He conducted a pencil art workshop and encouraged visitors to come up with drawings themselves. Over 2000 postcards with his art works dedicated to various Indian scenes were distributed at the event. Later a jam session happened in the famous Lodhi Garden. On 12 March 2023 Martin Vernier also conducted a pencil art workshop at the prestigious National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi. The initiative was attended by around 50 talented students, amateurs and professionals from India.

On the source of his art, Martin Vernier says: “I had the great fortune to discover very early – and surrounded by extraordinary people – the Himalayan regions of northern India; then to go there many times and finally to live and work there to discover with the same passion other Himalayan regions and then the Indian sub-continent and Asia beyond.”

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Musical performance by Swiss duo holds Indian hearts
Mumbai & Pune, 14-16 March 2023

« L’amitié peut supporter tous les aléas de la vie »… Friendship can survive all the ups and downs of life. The words of the Swiss duo Laurent Brunetti and Mario Pacchioli’s composition on friendship matched the context – 75 years of Swiss-Indian friendship. The duo primarily performed French compositions, but not only. Their “Swiss songs” medley, which included several popular Swiss songs in four Swiss national languages, had the audience clapping and swaying. Their yodeling instantly connected with the audience, most reminiscing Kishore Kumar’s iconic yodeling in Hindi popular cinema.

Laurent Brunetti and Mario Pacchioli also conducted an exclusive masterclass in Mumbai for Indian musicians and students. A musical confluence of this sort took place in the offline format after a long pause and put the spotlight back on the successful and long standing Swiss-Indian cultural collaboration thus far, with a promise to continue this cultural success story through potential Swiss-Indian musical collaborations and synergies.

As a member of the International Organization of La Francophonie, Switzerland been a consistent significant promoter and supporter of the French language. Over the years, Switzerland has contributed greatly to the French language celebrations in India by presenting the Swiss talents from the French-speaking part of Switzerland to French language enthusiasts and academia in India. By taking part in the annual Francophonie celebrations, not only is the multilingual character of Switzerland highlighted but also a parallel with the multilingual character of India is drawn to bring the countries culturally even closer.

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Swiss-Indian Architectural Ties – Leaving an Imprint
New Delhi, Ahmedabad & Bangalore, 16 January 2023

“Diary of India”: AS Architecture Suisse publishes a special edition documenting Swiss-Indian architectural ties.

Architectural links between Switzerland and India are not limited to Chandigarh. Well-known Swiss magazine AS Architecture Suisse has published a special edition entitled “Diary of India”, which invites to discover all the architectural successes that unite Switzerland and India. The tri-lingual periodical (German, French and English) bears witness to the rich cross-cultural architectural ties between Switzerland and India, from New Delhi to Rishikesh, via Koperagon, Surat, Mumbai and many other places. In his forward, Ambassador of Switzerland to India Dr. Ralf Heckner wrote that “architecture can serve as an illustrative visualization of people-to-people relations”. An auspicious way to celebrate 75 years of Swiss-Indian friendship.

This edition number 226 was supported by the Embassy of Switzerland. Copies of the magazine were officially sent to selected Indian schools and universities like Anant National University (Ahmedabad), School of Planning and Architecture (New Delhi), CEPT University (Ahmedabad), Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi) and Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Bangalore). The precious booklet was very well received and is now part of their libraries.

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“Search for an Oasis”: awareness on sustainable lifestyles raised through a Swiss-Indian photographic reflection
Gurugram, 16 March-16 April 2023

Ten Indian photographers captured the essence of the work of Swiss Cooperation in India in a photo exhibition at the Museo Camera Center in Gurugram encouraging reflection on sustainable lifestyles.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) supports eight different initiatives in India in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Guided by project partners, artistic creativity and keen curiosity, ten Indian photographers – Kunga Tashi Lepcha, Meziwang Zeliang,Kenilo Kessen, Palani Kumar, Parikshit Rao, Payal Kakkar, Ranita Roy, Sonam Dorjee, Sundeep Bali and Taha Ahmed – captured the essence of SDC’s work on climate change and its impact on local communities in an inspiring photo exhibition. The bamboo scaffolding and the pictures invited the public to imagine and create its own “oasis”.

The photographic reflection organized by the Embassy of Switzerland and the Museo Camera Center for the Photographic Arts raised awareness on climate-friendly and sustainable lifestyles. Initially displayed at the India Habitat Center and the UN House in New Delhi, the exhibition was inaugurated in Gurugram on 16 March 2023 by the Museum Director, Dr. Aditya Arya, and the Swiss Ambassador, Dr. Ralf Heckner. “Search for an Oasis” was visited by up to 600 persons daily. Due to the popularity of the exhibition, it was extended to 16 April 2023.

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Swiss-Indian Cinema: The Love Story Continues
New Delhi, 19 April 2023

Many a successful Indian movies had a Swiss dimension to it. The Embassy of Switzerland celebrated this aspect of its bilateral ties with India by hosting a reception for a Swiss-Indian movie premiere.

“Bollywood has taken Switzerland to every nook and corner of India” stated once the former president of India Ram Nath Kovind. Films have indeed played an important role in strengthening Swiss-Indian ties. It is through iconic Hindi films with picturesque dance scenes in the Swiss Alps that the country found its place in the hearts of the Indian audience.

Taking this successful connection a step further, Swiss-Indian director and producer Kamal Musale presents “Mother Teresa & Me”. The story is not only a biopic of Mother Teresa, the person, but also a multi-layered narrative with a contemporary thread about Kavita, a young British violinist who finds herself back in her native Kolkata and is about to make a discovery about her life which will change her forever. The film features Deepti Naval, Banita Sandhu and Jacqueline Fritschi-Cornaz – a splendid artistic combination.

On April 19, 2023, the Embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi hosted a reception following a special screening of the film. The guest of honor, Swiss National Councilor Doris Fiala, President of Pro Cinema, addressed the audience and read a letter from Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis wishing the film success in India.

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Making Science Accessible: 5th Global Science Film Festival
Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi 31 March 2023

Presenting themes of global importance, the Swiss Global Science Film Festival went international with screenings of animated and documentary films, followed by simultaneous panel discussions in India, Switzerland, China and Japan.

What does the inside of a glacier look like, and what threats that their melting due to global warming do pose to our lives and livelihood? The answers were found at the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi, the Swiss Consulate General in Mumbai and in Swissnex in India, in Bangalore, during the screening of one of the films Expedition Deep into the Glacier within the framework of the 5th Global Science Film Festival. A panel discussion entitled Making science accessible to the broad public followed, where the panellists reflected on the problems faced by communication professionals in presenting science issues relevant to society. As one panellist said, journalists and scientists have to work together and that journalists have to refrain from doing armchair journalism. It continues work that the Embassy has done in organising a film hackathon in the past. Close to 160 people, including climate researchers, filmmakers, science communicators and students, attended the screenings in the three cities.

The Global Science Film Festival is organised by the Swiss Science Film Academy, founded by Swiss scientists and filmmakers, with one passion “science communication through film”. The Academy tied up with the Swissnex network in Asia to take the 2023 edition of the Global Science Film Festival international and in addition to the three cities mentioned above the screenings took place simultaneously in Basel, Osaka and Shanghai as well.

The Festival had an Indian flavour. Three films with Indian perspectives were screened. All that Breathes tells the story of two brothers who care for thousands of black kites that drop daily from New Delhi’s skies. The Seeds of Vandana Shiva tells the remarkable life story of Gandhian eco-activist Dr. Vandana Shiva. Happy Pills is a journey through six different countries, including India, and characters into a world where chemistry, and ‘prescribed’ happiness, is the ultimate response to human pursuits of well-being.

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Disability and Digital Self-Determination studios’ grand finale celebrates a unique Swiss-Indian Collaboration.
New Delhi, 13 May 2023

A unique group of people came together at Swissnex in India in Bengaluru to conclude a four months long series of studios looking at digital self-determination through the lens of disability and chart a path ahead for digital spaces to be more inclusive and accessible.

Digital Self-Determination (DSD) is one of Switzerland’s foreign policy priorities. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate of International Law mandated Swissnex in India to carry out a series of studios aimed at operationalizing elements related to DSD, in collaboration with the International Network on Digital Self-Determination (IDSD) and the Embassy of Switzerland. Digital self-determination offers a unique way of understanding where we (can) live in the digital space – how we manage our social media environments, our interaction with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies, how we access and operate our personal data, and the ways in which we can have a say about mass data sharing.

Together with technology and inclusion focused non-profit Point of View and Design Beku, a community focused design studio, four studios have been organized between February and May 2023 focused on digital self-determination through the lens of disability. The studios brought together disabled individuals, researchers, techies, policy makers, designers and representatives from some of the largest online platforms in the world such as Wikipedia and Facebook. Through the studios, participants shared their lived experiences of being online, pinpointed accessibility pain points, imagined dream machines to address them, and mapped policy gaps – all in the context of disability.

The closing event summarized key insights from the studios in a hybrid panel discussion featuring Nidhi Goyal of Rising Flame, Pranav Savla, a visually impaired high school student and techie, Prateek Madhav, AssisTech Foundation and Stefaan Verhulst of the New York University GovLab. Padmini Ray Murray of Design Beku Moderated the discussion. Insights from the studios will also be shared with the C20, one of the official engagement groups of India’s G20 presidency focusing on civil society, where Nidhi Goyal is a steering committee member. Furthermore, the insights from the studios will be presented at RightsCon in Costa Rica in and at an IDSD workshop in Italy in June 2023. Lastly, the studios will kickstart the production of an accessibility curriculum for technology companies.

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Building Sustainable Peace and Protecting Civilians
New Delhi, 23 May 2023

How did we get here? How can we avoid being the ones who failed to react to the current crises? Have these questions ever bothered you when you look at the current state of world affairs and the wars that nations continue to wage against one another even in this day and age? After all, 77 years ago, “united” nations, cemented by trust and the will to rebuild, said: “Never again!” On May 03, Swiss Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis asked these questions about war and its consequences at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as he presided over an open debate on building sustainable peace. Numerous ongoing conflicts have exposed the shortcomings of the current multilateral system. However, as Federal Councillor Cassis pointed out: “the multilateral system may be stressed, but has not failed. The real failure would be to do nothing!”

Switzerland and India have both been the voices of peace, and continue their positive contributions towards building a robust multilateral system.
On the occasion of Switzerland’s presidency of the UNSC in May, Dr. Ralf Heckner, Ambassador of Switzerland to India, and Mr. Prakash Gupta, Joint Secretary (UNP and Summits), Indian Ministry of External Affairs, came together to address the envoys of E10 countries (non-permanent members of the UNSC), and underlined the evident convergences in Swiss and Indian foreign policy priorities, both of which aim to promote peace. They both made a case for Switzerland and India to collaborate in the multilateral framework, to strengthen it, and to promote peace. There could be no better way to commemorate Swiss-Indian “unalterable friendship” and “perpetual peace” than to join forces for global good.

Switzerland held the presidency of the United Nations Security Council in May 2023. Its UNSC membership in 2023 – 2024 is in continuity with its commitment to global peace and security. Click here to learn more about Switzerland’s UNSC membership.

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Winspiration – Helping women succeed. Period.
Bengaluru, 31 May 2023

Winspiration presented a day of dialogue between Switzerland and India focusing on gender equality. The event concentrated on sharing best practices and empowering women leaders through workshops, panel dialogues, and networking.

Both Switzerland and India have a long way to go in ensuring equal representation of women in leadership roles, despite the legal and regulatory changes mandated by both countries. Swissnex aimed at deepening the conversation by addressing three focal points: understanding unconscious bias, promoting more role models at the workplace, and addressing the fundamental hormonal challenges women face in their careers.

The morning session focused on fostering gender equality in the workplace, encompassing introspective exercises and exploring external factors that contribute to diversity. SwissRe, represented by Priyadarshi Bhattacharya, shared valuable insights into the organizational steps taken to promote gender equality. Miyara, represented by Dr. Sanjana Rao, shed light on the specific challenges faced by older women in the workplace and Dr. Elisa Streuli from ZHAW emphasized the significant role of culture and experience in fostering diversity.

The afternoon session, held in a hybrid format with remote participation from Switzerland, took the audience on a journey to understand the hormonal changes at every stage of a woman’s life and understanding how those changes can affect their productivity. Geraldine Ludi of Josei highlighted the importance of empowering women with knowledge about reproductive health and fostering open discussions to ensure productivity in daily life and the workplace. The day concluded with a conversation about managing career ambitions during menopause.

The event encompassed an enriching workshop, engaging panel discussions and ample networking. The industry stalwarts provided actionable insights and the startups offered valuable perspectives on how existing technological advancements can address menopause-related challenges. The audience, a mix of men and women from various backgrounds, fostered an exchange of information and experience further enhancing the event’s depth.

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Showcasing Swiss-Indian friendship through innovation and collaboration at IGIC (India Global Innovation Connect)
Bengaluru, 1-2 June 2023

Swiss innovators took the stage at IGIC to demonstrate that when Indian and Swiss collaborate, it leads to groundbreaking technological advancements and strengthened R&D pipelines.

Innovation and investment are key priorities for Switzerland in India. Swissnex in India, in collaboration with the Swiss Business Hub, leveraged IGIC as a platform to emphasize the shared commitment between Switzerland and India to investment and innovation, solidifying the bond between our nations and driving mutual growth.

Switzerland was represented in 14 sessions during the two-day event, featuring among others:

Kunal Shrivastava, co-founder of the drone startup SUIND, which develops computer vision AI for near-earth drones to detect and prevent crop loss. He showcased how Switzerland’s expertise is crucial in the development of the technology platform, while India’s drone rules, which are more advanced than anywhere in Europe, are crucial for developing a solution for global markets.

Ishan Sahgal, co-founder of Anavia, emphasized that the manufacturing capacity in India, along with cutting-edge technology from Switzerland, could create a new global product offering. He discussed the steps that Anavia was taking in this direction.

Denis Tudor, co-founder of Hyperloop, discussed how different technologies could come together to co-create a future mobility solution. A future where drones can pick up a parcel onsite and seamlessly leave it at the nearest hyperloop station within minutes, leveraging the expertise of both drone manufacturers and hyperloop developers to ensure efficient last-mile delivery.

Prashant Gokhale, MD of Buhler, started by providing a historical context for the establishment of Buhler and its transformation into an R&D center, now producing novel products for the globe. Using millets as an example, he mentioned how Indian know-how of millets and Swiss precision engineering could be exploited to develop new offerings, especially considering that the UN has designated 2023 as the “Year of the Millet,” leading to increased worldwide demand.

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Carbon Neutral Ladakh
Leh - Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh, 13-16 June 2023

Swiss initiatives in Ladakh and productive interactions with the government officials contribute to the vision of “Carbon Neutral Ladakh”.

Switzerland faces increasing risks posed by the climate change. But the good news is, innovative solutions are being consistently developed for the mountainous country which are also disseminated in similar other geographies. Ladakh being a fragile region, the Swiss-Indian collaboration is promoting solutions for the carbon neutral and resilient ecosystem.

The Swiss Development Cooperation projects in Ladakh are focused on promotion of Passive solar Heated (PSH) and energy efficient buildings, demonstration of heat pump technology in public buildings e.g. hospital. The success of these interventions possess high replicability in other establishments such as schools, hotels, farmsteads, etc. The BEEP-RE project is preparing to demonstrate the heat pump technology integrated with geo-thermal and solar systems in the public health facilities. A new idea of spring shed management is also being proposed for the conservation of water resources in the region.

The Ambassador of Switzerland, Dr Ralf Heckner, visited the high altitude and cold region of Ladakh and interacted with high level government officials and other prominent personalities. In various meetings, the Ambassador emphasized that both Switzerland and Ladakh share challenges posed by the geography, weather, and terrain, the work in Ladakh will not only benefit the region, but also be an opportunity for learning and taking back the successful solutions to Switzerland.

In the recent years, Ladakh sees a rapid expansion of the buildings construction and energy infrastructure. As the temperature reaches as low as -30oC in winters, the space heating and energy efficient measures in buildings (such as roof and wall insulation, double glazed windows for heat gains and daylight, etc) is a predominant requirement. Earlier, the Swiss technical support has played an instrumental role in developing the India’s first Energy Efficiency Code for the Residential Buildings.

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World Trade Institute in India
New Delhi, 8 June 2023

The people-to-people contacts between Switzerland and India continued with the World Trade Institute (WTI), University of Bern, launching the India Chapter of its Alumni Association at an event at the Residence of Switzerland.

The World Trade Institute Alumni Association launched its India Chapter at an event at the Residence of Switzerland. With 58 alumni, India accounts for almost 10% of the WTI’s 600 plus alumni and students from across 100 countries, making it the largest number from any single country. These alumni occupy important posts, across India and the world. The launch of the India Chapter in New Delhi follows the establishment of such chapters in Geneva and Brussels. In fact, there was an Indian participant in the very first Master of Advanced Studies in International Law and Economics (MILE), the flagship programme of the World Trade Institute, in 1999.

During the event, the Embassy organized a trade talk, wherein Prof Dr. Peter L. H. Van den Bossche, Director of Studies, WTI, and Dr. Pritam Banerjee, Professor and Head, Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), presented their insights and participated in a panel discussion about the causes and responses to the challenges faced by the multilateral trading system. The spirited exchanges that followed with the participants highlighted the importance of having such dialogues, which bring together diverse viewpoints.

The event took place within the framework of the 9th Joint Academy on International Trade Law and Policy, organised by the World Trade Institute and the Centre for WTO Studies at IIFT. The Academy, established in 2014, aims to provide law students and legal professionals in India with an opportunity to increase their knowledge of trade regulation and governance issues.

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How Switzerland and India Can Shape the Global Conversation on Free Trade
New Delhi, 22 June 2023

It is one of those reunions that crystallize the quality of the relationship between two friendly countries. Prof. Thomas Cottier, former Managing Director of the World Trade Institute (WTI) at the University of Bern, and Mr. B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog and former Commerce Secretary of India, led a conversation on international trade, attended by high-level representatives of diplomatic missions. Beyond the very topical subject, it was also a student meeting again with his professor: Mr. Subrahmanyam obtained his degree in international law and economics at the WTI. The two of them had a lot to talk about.

Since the dawn of time, trade has brought people closer together, enhancing innovation and furthering prosperity. What is happening between India and Switzerland on that front? Switzerland, mainly within the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), has concluded 33 free-trade agreements (FTAs) with 43 partners. In the past, India has signed 13 FTAs and after a long break, it has been proactively engaging with a growing number of countries and regional blocs in order to conclude FTAs, such as Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and the EFTA!

As the exchange showed, the new FTAs that are currently being negotiated around the world reflect the changing nature of international economic relations, and new topics such as environmental and labor standards or gender are now on the table. Governments and businesses have learnt that trade deals must go beyond tariffs reduction, and tackle trade in services, investments, intellectual property and above all, non-tariff measures. The tête-à-tête went beyond a Swiss and Indian experts reuniting to discuss international trade. It was also about how two countries can shape together the global conversation about the future of WTO and FTAs.

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Under India’s Presidency Switzerland presented its know-how in G20 Infrastructure Working Group (IWG)
Rishikesh, 26-28 June 2023

Well-functioning infrastructure is a fundamental pre-requisite for a prosperous economy. India attaches great importance to sustainable infrastructure development. In Rishikesh, best practices from Switzerland and around the world have been showcased during the third G20 Infrastructure Working Group (IWG).

The G20 Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) deals with sustainable infrastructure development and financing. Under the 2023 Indian G20 Presidency, Switzerland presented its expertise in this high-level setting. The Swiss Business Hub India (SBHI) took care of the local representation in close coordination with the State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). As one of SECO’s six infrastructure priority countries, India can benefit from Swiss know-how in large infrastructure projects.

The third IWG in Rishikesh successfully showcased international best practices. Switzerland called for closer cooperation with multilateral development banks, which often financially support infrastructure projects. Switzerland also brought in its expertise in public-private-partnerships. Export Credit Agencies (ECA) play a central role in financing or insuring such initiatives. With ECA coverage, risk allocation and thus cost reduction are possible. With its Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV), Switzerland is well positioned in this regard.

The G20 is an association of 19 States and the European Union. It exists since 1999. It serves primarily as a forum on challenges of the international economic and financial system, but also on global issues such as climate policy or infrastructure development. Switzerland regularly participates in the G20 Finance Track, to which IWG belongs, upon invitation from the G20 rotating presidency. This year, in extending an invitation to Switzerland, the Indian presidency graciously honoured this tradition.

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Swiss-Indian Cooperation at the Onset of a Low Carbon Revolution in the Cement Sector.
India (entire country), 16 June 2023

The adoption of Swiss supported Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LC3) in India paves the way for massive decarbonisation of the cement sector.

It is official: standards for Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LC3) have been published in the Official Gazette of India on the 16th of June 2023. The publication of the standards consecrates more than 10 years of collaboration between Swiss and Indian universities and organisations supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It marks the beginning of a revolution for the cement sector, opening the door to mass production and commercialisation of low carbon cement LC3, and through it to massive decarbonisation of the cement and construction sectors in India and worldwide.

Cement is the most used man-made material on the planet. Its production is responsible for 7-8% of CO2 emissions globally. It is therefore a major driver of climate change. For 10 years (2013–2022), the SDC has supported the low carbon cement project. Swiss scientists from the Polytechnic Federal School of Lausanne (EPFL) along with Indian scientists from IIT Delhi, IIT Madras and Technology & Action for Rural Advancement (TARA), as well as Cuban scientists (Universidad de las Villas), have developed a climate-friendly alternative to conventional cement to reduce CO2 emissions during production by up to 40%. The result, LC3, is a cement that is less carbon intensive; resource efficient (low grade limestone and clays are used); energy efficient (clay is calcined at 700oC instead of 1400oC); cost effective (25% less of costs in production); and that offers similar to superior properties compared to conventional cement.

To enable a meaningful impact, in this case a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, a conducive regulatory framework and large uptake by the private sector (cement manufacturers and the Cement Manufacturers Association) are necessary. This is now made possible by the adoption and publication of LC3 standards in India, the second largest global producer and consumer of cement in the world. India is therefore joining the club of countries in which LC3 is already produced, along with Argentina, Columbia, Malawi, Ivory Coast, Cuba and China. Cement companies such as Holcim announced at COP27 that their largest cement plant, situated in Egypt, will start the production of LC3.

Together, an estimated 100 million CHF have been invested by the industry for LC3 research and production, and around 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions have been avoided in 2023. This is only the beginning. Today LC3 is produced in at least 9 plants around the world. With the right efforts widely adopting LC3 can save 500 million tonnes per year of CO2 by 2030.

Official Gazette published by the Bureau of Indian Standards

Building a Workforce for the Future: a Swiss-Indian Journey
New Delhi, 18 July 2023

On July 18th, the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce’s (SICC) and the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi joined forces to offer SICC members some valuable insights on imminent trends in the human resources management sector, as well as possible ways to adapt. Together, Swiss company Adecco representatives, a panel of four Indian industry leaders and the invited guests collectively embarked on a reflexive journey with one underlying concern in mind: how to build a workforce for the future?

Today, work is facing unprecedented change. Digitization and AI are revolutionizing labor environments, challenging us to rethink the way we work. The demand for greater flexibility, diversity and inclusivity at the workplace is high, and new management models are emerging in consequence. In order to stay competitive, and to adapt to these inevitable evolutions, it is crucial for businesses to rethink how they hire and train their workforce, and to encourage continuous skill development.

“Building a Workforce for the Future” was meant to inspire businesses to rethink their position in a fast-moving work ecosystem. After a welcome address by Ambassador Heckner, representatives from the Swiss global company Adecco Ajay Sethi (CEO, Adecco India) and Bettina Schaller (Head Group of Public Affairs, The Adecco Group) shared an overview on both the ongoing shifts in the labor market’s global architecture and the current activities of Adecco in India.

To these interventions followed a panel discussion moderated by Cauvery Uthappa (Adecco India). Ms. Chahal, CEO of a women-only social platform named Sheroes, offered an insight into the hindrances faced by her team when promoting a women-only supportive ecosystem, and advocated for more creativity in the workforce. Ms. Mankad, from handcrafted products retailer Fabindia, explained in what manner promoting women empowerment and mentorship had gradually become integral to her company’s business model, thereby encouraging and sustaining rural employment in India. Ms. Bhateja shared about her personal journey at Migros India, and how Switzerland’s largest retailer has provided a stimulating and empowering professional environment throughout her career, with many initiatives taken to keep her and her colleagues up to date with current sustainability challenges. Ms. Tandan, from the packaging solutions enterprise SIG Combibloc India, talked about how digital transformation had been thoroughly embraced by her organization, and elaborated on the concrete measures taken by the Swiss business to prepare its employees for these technological advancements.

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Under India’s Presidency Switzerland Played Its Part in the G20 Finance Track
Gandhinagar, 17-18 July 2023

Switzerland may well not be a member of the G20, it is a regular and active participant to its Finance Track, as showed the latest Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting held on 17 and 18 July 2023 in Gandhinagar. The Indian Presidency extended an invitation to Switzerland, acknowledging Swiss expertise in financial matters.

The focus of the discussions in the G20 Finance Track was on coordinated steps to stabilise the global economy, structural measures to promote growth and reform proposals for the international financial system. The objective remains to detect crises more effectively at an earlier stage and to prevent the development of global imbalances. At the same time, the international financial, economic and monetary system requires to be made more stable.

For the 8th time in a row, Switzerland was invited – this time under India’s Presidency – as a guest country to the Financial Track. The Swiss delegation was composed by the State Secretariat for international financial matters (SIF) and the Swiss National Bank (SNB).

Reaching agreement on a joint outcome document never is an easy task, tackling such topics as the fragile global economic situation, the rising debt burden, and efforts to adapt international organisations to address global challenges such as climate change and pandemics. The G20 Outcome Document and Chair’s Summary is now available.

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“In the Tart Smell of a Conifer…”: Swiss Author Rolf Hermann’s Prose and Poetry with German Teachers from Northern India
New Delhi, 29 July 2023

Swiss Author Rolf Hermann gave a reading of his book “Ephemeral Home” in front of 250 German language teachers from North India. In a more intimate setting with 25-30 German teachers, Hermann held a writing workshop.

Swiss author Rolf Hermann addressed 250 German language teachers from Northern India in German reading from his book “Flüchtiges Zuhause – Ephemeral Home” at the Deutschlehrer:innentagung (DTL) in New Delhi. The Valais native narrated about his past as a shepherd high in the Swiss mountains with his polyglot Belgian border collie. His fictional childhood memories contained scenes of river flooding, forest fires, exchanges with family members, the flow of time and a pinch of melancholy as the seasons change and society with it. Despite the fact that the author is regularly giving workshops and readings in English, the audience being German teachers, the entire interaction was entirely in German.

Later on, Rolf Hermann hosted a writing workshop with around 25 participants. Here Hermann prompted the participants to come up with their own texts in German. The first task was to write a short essay based on the introductory sentence “Im herben Geruch eines Nadelbaums”. Then, all participants wrote a text on an ink drawing. In the end, Rolf Hermann gave a poetry-form as a template and asked to compose a poem based on the given structure. It was remarkable to see people whose first language is not German to come up with sophisticated prose and poetry form during the workshop.

he conference was organized by the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan and the Indo-German Teachers Association and had a rich program. The Embassy of Switzerland has been participating and contributing to these German teachers’ conferences since 2009 and has also in the past been able to send participants and speakers.

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75 years of Swiss-Indian friendship: 'Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge’ (We will never break this friendship)
New Delhi, 14 Aug 2023

Ambassador Dr. Ralf Heckner shared the accomplishments of 75 years of Swiss-Indian friendship and examined the potential the future holds for this relationship with 300 million 92.7 Big FM listeners.

Switzerland and India marked 75 years of friendship on 14th August 2023. On this occasion, Ambassador Dr. Ralf Heckner went on air on radio 92.7 Big FM and shared the accomplishments of seven and a half decades of friendship and even more importantly examined the potential the future holds for this relationship. The number of Big FM listeners is estimated at 300 million.

During the informal conversation with India’s leading radio jockey Khurafaati Nitin, broadcasted from 58 radio stations across the country, Ambassador Heckner talked about Swiss-Indian partnership that has covered areas ranging from vocational training, milk production and manufacturing to collaborations in health, climate and information technology. The future of this relationship, he said, will be defined by working in the area of sustainable future, healthcare and cooperation in technology for global good. Ambassador Heckner concluded the conversation by sharing with the listeners that for him the song ‘Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge’ (We will never break this friendship – Watch the interview) best captures the Swiss-Indian friendship.

Friendship between the two countries is based on mutual respect, common interests and shared values. Swiss-Indian relationship is one of the few examples of such time-tested friendships. Seven and half decades of this unalterable bond are nothing short of a “tryst with destiny” moment for the two countries.

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Swiss films captivate the Indian audience at the International Shorts Collective 2023
Pune, 11-12 Aug 2023

An exultant celebration of creativity, innovation, and the irresistible allure of the short format! Critically acclaimed short films from Switzerland have been presented in the fifth edition of The International Shorts Collective in Pune.

Films have a universal appeal and bring people and cultures together across borders and languages. Building further on this forte, the International Short Collective 2023, jointly organized by Consulate General of Switzerland in Mumbai, Goethe Institute Pune, Alliance Française de Pune, Arbhaat Film Club and supported by the Pune Film Foundation, presented contemporary short films from Europe and India over a two-day festival.

The Swiss, German, French and Indian collections explored a range of thought-provoking themes and offered glimpses into the human existence through artistic storytelling. Selected from entries to the Locarno Film Festival, the National Film Awards of India and other prominent international film festivals, the short films in this curated package explored the subtleties of human character and indifference in an ever-changing world.

Through compelling narratives and evocative imagery, the 6 Swiss short films in the Swiss national languages German, French and Italian, triggered questions, emotions and introspection, leaving lasting impressions that captured the essence of life in all its vulnerability:
• Fairplay by Zoel Aeschbacher
• Es Muss by Flavio Luca Marano & Jumana Issa
• Chute by Nora Longatti
• Cavales by Juliette Riccaboni
• Rondinella by Nikita Merlini
• Über Wasser by Jela Hasler

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Switzerland and India: Towards Strengthening Human Rights in Business
Mumbai, 08 Aug 2023

The Consulate General of Switzerland in Mumbai, in collaboration with the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, hosted a workshop on business-related human rights challenges and strategic approaches to addressing them.

The workshop focused on how Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) in the supply chain can be implemented effectively in the changing legal landscape across the world, especially in India, and how stakeholders can be engaged during the development of governance mechanisms. Global Business Initiative (GBI) on Human Rights offered an overview of global legal developments, their implications for business practitioners in India and facilitated a discussion on engaging with suppliers to conduct HRDD, including challenges and best practices. The session explored going beyond auditing practices in the context of HRDD, as well as delving deeper in the supply chain by the corporate leadership. Participants also discussed effective approaches to address challenges, innovate, build internal know-how and learn from peers.

An insightful panel discussion with Aditi Wanchoo, Senior Manager of Human Rights, Novartis and Shubha Sekhar, Regional Director Human and Workplace Rights, Eurasia and North Africa, The Coca Cola Company, emphasized the increasing importance for companies to implement policies and processes to manage human rights issues effectively to meet their responsibilities under key standards and stakeholder expectations to achieve sustainable development. A case study analysis concluded with the takeaways that business practitioners must identify priorities and build robust approaches to identifying and managing human rights issues beyond social audits.

Around 35 Swiss and Indian corporates participated in the interactive workshop and exchanged views as well as valuable practical experiences. Sophia Areias, Director, The Global Business Initiative on Human Rights and Rishi Sher Singh, GBI Advisor to South Asia spearheaded the workshop.

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“The Land and Its Many Voices”: Swiss Art Explorations in Leh
Leh, Ladakh, 21 Aug 2023

Switzerland-based artist and poet, Małgorzata Stankiewicz, participated in the sā Ladakh Festival in Leh – South Asia’s highest ever contemporary land art group exhibition.

The Embassy of Switzerland in India supported South Asia’s highest ever contemporary land art group exhibition at a record altitude of 3,600 meters, focusing on the theme of mountains, environment, culture and community. Switzerland-based Małgorzata Stankiewicz’s read her poetry and prose in the scenic conference room of a royal minister’s house, which had been converted into Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation (LAMO).

Afterwards, the Embassy invited the present guests to a reception with a view over Leh and Leh Palace. Małgorzata Stankiewicz conducted the workshop `An uncanny language – the land and its many voices` with students of the Ladakh Public School. She also contributed an installation which offered an ephemeral entryway to an alternative way of listening, with a QR-Code, exposed to the four elements to wither away. The Swiss Cultural Attaché, Simon Schaeffer, also visited a local school and interacted with the principal and the students who had visited the sā Ladakh festival. They had engaged vividly with the theme of ecology.

Due to its mountainous topography, both Switzerland and Leh have similar challenges when it comes to ecological considerations. sā Ladakh intended to inspire artistic reflections on the topic of environment in relation to the community that inhabits it. Where to do this better than in Ladakh, where climate change effects are visible and accelerated? Also, the inhabitants of Leh benefit from a tourism influx which at the same time puts a strain on the fragile ecosystem. The different art installations all had as a goal to put up a mirror and have the visitors reflect on their interaction patterns with nature. During the length of the festival, a range of artists engaged with sā Ladakh to present their work in the form of literature, sculptures, filmmaking, textiles amongst others.

Małgorzata Stankiewicz is on residency in Leh, Ladakh, supported by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

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Indian Fertile Minds and Green Thumbs at the Swiss Embassy
New Delhi, 18 Aug 2023

The Embassy of Switzerland and Ryan International School undertook a campaign with a plantation drive to raise awareness about environmental protection and a more sustainable future.

An awareness campaign was launched at the Embassy of Switzerland with 50 students of Ryan International School, Mayur Vihar branch. The goal was to foster the principles of ecosystem protection, notably the crucial role trees play in conserving biodiversity and combating climate change.

A workshop on sustainability was conducted to reflect on daily activities and their impact on resources. It stimulated students’ reflection on causes and solutions to reduce the carbon footprint. Inspired students showed enthusiasm about taking actions dedicated to several environmental causes. Some valuable ideas were expressed on water conservation, waste management and development of eco-friendly products.

The highlight of the day was the plantation drive. Students along with volunteers from the Embassy planted several saplings within the Swiss Embassy’s compound. The promise of blossom holds a symbolic significance. Students are invited to observe the progress of their plantation on 14 October, as part of the forthcoming “SwitzerlandIndia In Bloom” event.

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‘Animus, Psyche and Culture: A Jungian Revision’ by Indian Author Sulagna Sengupta
Bengaluru, 7 Sept 2023

Sulagna Sengupta, a Jungian scholar and cultural historian, unraveled Carl Jung’s world at Swissnex in India’s community space, where she launched her second book, ‘Animus, Psyche and Culture: A Jungian Revision’.

Indian author Sulagna Sengupta has spent many decades on studying the life and work of Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung. ‘Animus, Psyche and Culture: A Jungian Revision’, her second book, is the culmination of the last 20 years of her research, which she launched at Swissnex in India’s community space.

Sengupta gave a 45-minute lecture which highlighted Carl Jung’s psychological interests in India and deliberated on his pioneering notion of the ‘animus’, the significance of culture, gender and feminine subjectivity in the unfolding of the animus. She explained Jung’s time in India (1937-38) when he travelled to different parts of the country, lecturing and meeting philosophers and spiritual seekers from various schools of thought.

‘Animus, Psyche and Culture: A Jungian Revision’ provides an insight into the inner masculine in the feminine psyche. It demonstrates the lived experience of the feminine in culture and the concept of synchronicity, and the phenomena of the ‘animus’ in the collective unconscious among other things. Equally importantly, Sengupta said she positions some Jungian concepts in today’s world, by even adapting them to the present reality of gender fluidity.
The lecture by Sengupta was followed by a lively Q&A session with the audience which was a mix of avid readers and Jungian enthusiasts from various walks of life. The audience further interacted with Sengupta informally during dinner.

They say a master yearns for a discerning disciple just as deeply as a student longs for a selfless guru. And in Sengupta, Jung has found one posthumously.

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Swiss and Indian Army Bands play in harmony!
New Delhi, Mumbai, 7 - 14 Sept 2023

Together with the Indian Navy Band in Mumbai and the Indian Army Band in Delhi, the Swiss Armed Forces Brass Band put a musical exclamation mark! Musically at the highest level, the Brass Band performed for the unchanging (military-)diplomatic friendship between Switzerland and India. The ears and eyes of hundreds of guests were treated to a colourful and playful celebration of the perpetual peace and unalterable friendship between the nations and their armed forces.

The Swiss Armed Forces Brass Band, as the musical ambassador of the Swiss Armed Forces, performed several concerts in Mumbai and Delhi from 7 to 14 September 2023. The Swiss representation network in India with the Embassy in Delhi and the Consulate General in Mumbai provided the perfect platform.

On 8 September, as part of the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations, a first highlight followed in the form of a joint concert with the Indian Navy Band at the Royal Opera House Mumbai. Thanks to the high professionalism of both music ensembles, several pieces could even be played together despite the short preparation time. After further concerts, e.g. on 12 September at the Swiss representation for the benefit of the diplomatic community in New Delhi, another highlight and finale followed one day later: a joint two-hour concert of the Swiss Armed Forces Brass Band with the Indian Army Band in front of almost 900 spectators. Other concerts for the German schools in Mumbai and Delhi also provided an opportunity to play for the future and its coming generations, performing for eager ears and enthusiastic eyes of children.

Music connects people, music connects cultures, music is a globally understood language. The pieces played together expressed the friendship and harmony between India and Switzerland. Colourful, dynamic, in harmony and perfectly tuned to each other. In an increasingly fragmented world, the image of two armed forces making music together is a great success!

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Mellow-dious and Funky Beats Enchanting Indian Audiences
Chandigarh, Kolkata, New Delhi, Pune and Mumbai, 6 - 30 Sept 2023

(Photo Credits: Nathyfa Michel)

Swiss-Ugandan singer-songwriter AWORI mesmerized Indian audiences with her creative fusion of hip-hop, electronic music and R’n’B music and jumpy dance moves.

This was definitely a performance off the beaten track in diplomatic Delhi as an enchanted audience took in the versatile musical performance of a talented Swiss musician. Awori performed in the five Indian cities of Chandigarh, Kolkata, New Delhi, Pune and Mumbai. Every location was a different set-up: one bar, one restaurant-cum-stage, one Alliance Française cinema hall and one club. In Delhi, music enthusiasts, the Embassy of Switzerland and also sponsors were present when Awori kept everybody’s attention with a dexterous and melodious performance. Every song garnered energetic applause by the packed cinema hall at Alliance Française in New Delhi.

Young men of the Dharavi Dream Project, an underground hip-hop movement of India’s largest shantytown, opened the gig in Mumbai with their pulsating b-boying and rap. Picking up on the vibe, AWORI connected with the audience effortlessly through the music and received an enthusiastic response from them. The performance was not only limited to the stage as the listeners swayed along with the artist dancing the night away.

Throughout the concerts, the audiences in India were surprised about the continuous shift in styles as the artist moved swiftly and seamlessly from Rap/Hip-Hop to R’n’B’ and Electro with her soothing voice and energetic dance moves. Her lyrics were in French, English and Swahili. Explaining her songs in-between, the music aficionados learnt about the themes of her lyrics: Madagascar’s last queen, romantic break-up feelings, dance songs and memories from her childhood in Uganda all figured prominently in the playlist.

The Swiss-Ugandan singer-songwriter AWORI already experiments with rap, hip-hop, electronic music, R’n’B, mixing them with feminist and socially committed lyrics and storytelling. Currently she is studying Jazz in Paris and will soon add Blues elements and a bass guitar to her broad musical repertoire.

These performances were the result of a collaboration with Alliance Française. This was the fifth time in Delhi in 2023 alone that we have joined forces with Alliance Française and pooled resources in a joined project, making this Indo-Swiss success story even more international.

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Bringing together Swiss Businesses and Indian Civil Society Organizations
New Delhi, 03 Oct 2023

A good Indian wedding starts with a successful matchmaking. That is how the Embassy of Switzerland intended to bring together Swiss companies and civil society organizations (CSOs) active in India, in order to boost their impact on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The CSR Round Table gathered around 50 representatives of 13 Swiss companies and 18 CSOs in a thrilling 2-minutes pitching session, followed by a networking event. The event took place in the presence of former Federal Councilor and Chairwoman of Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), Ms. Ruth Metzler-Arnold, and Chairwoman of the Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV), Ms. Barbara Hayoz.

How can the 323 Swiss companies active in India contribute to the Agenda 2030’s Sustainable Development Goals? Certainly, by being aware of their impact and implementing relevant CSR projects. What do CSOs need in order to carry on their much-needed mission? It goes without saying that they require funding and a good network. The event intended to bring together stakeholders from various CSOs and Swiss businesses to foster collaboration, have them promote their own activities, share best practices, and explore opportunities for collective social impact. Not only between companies and organizations, but also among CSOs themselves.

Switzerland has a longstanding history of engagement with civil society in India. The Swiss international cooperation has been active in India since 1958. This work now focuses on climate change mitigation and sustainability. The Swiss government attaches great importance to the promotion of sustainable business practices. To this end, the Federal Council adopted a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Action Plan 2020-2023, along a whole range of instruments dedicated to sustainability, human rights and overarching Sustainable Development Goals. India has a vibrant civil society. The Central Statistical Institute of India reports that there are over 3.3 million NGOs and civil society organizations in India. In Switzerland, we have more than 40’000 charities, nonprofits and non-governmental organizations. Civic engagement and CSR are highly held values in both Switzerland and in India.

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From Swiss-Indian Friendship to Resilient Community in the Hills of Uttarakhand
Satoli, Uttrakhand - 05 Oct 2023

When a visionary Indian doctor teams up with a committed Swiss surgeon, nothing is impossible. An unlikely encounter in Switzerland has grown a strong friendship: the Swiss-Himalayan Amity. Made up of men and women of goodwill, this partnership brings health, education and sustainability to more than 200 villages in the hills of Uttarakhand.

Satoli, a small village perched in the wooded hills of Uttarakhand. From the nearest airport, it is a four-hour drive up the continuous switchbacks suspended above the void. On the mountainside, a small hospital adorned with a Swiss and Indian flag. It is the result of a long-term partnership between a Swiss rural architecture and cheese amateur, Dr Sushil Sharma, and a Himalayas lover from Zurich, Dr Robert Graf. Together, they have been working since 2005 with their association, the Swiss-Himalayan Amity, to provide care for a rural community of 200 villages. Today, the clinic is operational 24/7 and a Mobile Medical Unit ensures that as many villagers as possible in the outlying areas are reached.

More than just a hospital, the two friends have succeeded in bringing together a resilient local community. Through four NGOs – Aarohi, Arogya and Alaap – the two doctors are working to empower mountain people through three key areas: education, health and sustainability. Close to the clinic, below, is a school for children with an annex building dedicated to vocational training currently under construction. Twice a year, Dr Graf operates in the clinic with the support of other practitioners from Switzerland. In Rishikesh, a CanKids station dedicated to children with cancer has been opened to enable affected families to remain in the State. Lastly, an initiative aims to replant local tree species to create a sustainable reforestation with greater carbon capture capacity enjoys a 90% success rate.

On 5 October 2023, the Swiss-Himalayan Bounty took place. This exceptional event brought together supporters of the Swiss-Himalayan Amity. Organised by Ashish Verma with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland, the event gathered residents, social workers, entrepreneurs, artists, chefs and craftsmen. Set against a sumptuous backdrop of the Himalayas, it was an opportunity for Indian civil society to come together and imagine a resilient future in the hills. As mentioned by the Swiss Deputy Head of Mission, Dr. Olivier Fink, in his remarks during the event, the initiative was set under the auspices of 75 years of friendship between Switzerland and India.

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On the right track: Swissrail Mission to India
Mumbai & New Delhi, 10-13 Oct 2023

Between 10th and 13th October 2023, more than twenty representatives from thirteen Swiss companies from the rail sector visited India. The Joint Working Group on Technical Cooperation in the rail sector between the Swiss Federal Office of Transport and the Indian Railway Board successfully took place, confirming that Switzerland and India are complementary partners

The Indian railway network is India’s lifeline. It connects the different parts of the subcontinent and allows social, cultural and economic connections in the diverse and huge country. The Indian government knows about the importance of the railways for social cohesion and economic development. This explains why Indian Railways is the second largest employer in the country and accounts for a considerable share of public expenditure. The large networks not only need constant maintenance, but also new investments and innovation. This is exactly where the Swissrail Mission to India came into the picture.

Between 10th and 13th October 2023, more than twenty representatives from thirteen Swiss companies from the rail sector visited India. The aim of the Swissrail Mission was to position Swiss companies’ products and services in the Indian railway segment. The two core elements were the Joint Working Group on Technical Cooperation in the rail sector between the Swiss Federal Office of Transport and the Indian Railway Board, as well as a specially organized matchmaking event for the delegation with potential Indian partners and customers. Besides these program points, the Swiss company representatives had the opportunity to visit a project site of the National Capital Region Transport Cooperation (NCRTC) to mingle with further industry actors at the International Railway Equipment Exhibition (IREE) and – last but not the least – to learn more about the Swiss transport policy and India in general in a social evening hosted by the Swiss Ambassador to India in the presence of the Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Transport.

The Swissrail Mission confirmed that Switzerland and India are complementary partners in the railway sector. India is currently investing heavily in the expansion and modernization of its railway network. Swiss companies from all possible subsectors such as electrification, overhead lines, track systems, signaling, timetable services and also rolling stock were able to expand their network and set the course for further cooperation with and in India. While the comparatively higher prices of Swiss products and services compared to competitors used to be a potential barrier to market entry, it is now precisely Swiss quality that is in demand. Ultimately, this not only increases safety and efficiency, but is often also more durable and therefore more cost-effective in the long run. Railways will continue to be an important part of the Swiss-Indian bilateral relations in the future. The first follow-up projects from the Swissrail Mission to India are already in the making.

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Swiss-Indian Floral Extravagance at the Embassy’s Grandest Evening
New Delhi, 13 Oct 2023

The Swiss Art Night has become much more than just another embassy reception: it is a place for artistic exploration, culinary indulgence and celebrative dancing where the many guests, sponsors, partners, contacts and interlocuters of the Swiss Network in India are welcomed in a transformed wonderworld and inclusive meeting place.

The Swiss Art Night celebrated at the Swiss Embassy is the biggest Embassy event of the Swiss Network in India, and easily one of the biggest of any Swiss representation abroad, with over 1300 guests in one evening. The floral art comprised floating flower clouds over the Embassy building and garden. It was an interplay between vibrant colors and soothing greens, nature and architecture, and light and shadow. The artwork was the result of a novel collaboration between Swiss floral artists – Philipp von Arx, Myrta Frohofer, Hanna Knoblauch – with Indian floral artists – Shreeram Kulkarni and Adarsh Suresh –, as well as space designer Sagar Singh.

Dj Axonn made sure that the dance floor remained packed for the entire evening as many guests shook a leg beneath the floral clouds – which wired with water pipes – exuded a gentle misty breeze. In his address to the guests, Ambassador Ralf Heckner stressed the importance of the sponsors for the organization of the event. He also emphasized the message of the friendship treaty between Switzerland and India from 1948 which focused on perpetual peace and unalterable friendship. The fusion art installed all over the Embassy premises epitomized the yet untapped potential of bilateral and cross-cultural collaboration.

The evening was widely covered in the Indian press and online, including most mainline publications and prominent online news platforms. The installations were introduced to a young audience on 14th October for discussions on vocational training, artistic expression, professional excellence, and a dance performance to the eclectic beats of diplomat and musician, DJ Barnet (cf. success story No 37). Watch some of the unforgettable experiences and incredible moments that made the event a fragrant success here.

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Vocationally Empowered by Swiss-Indian Floral Art
New Delhi, 14 Oct 2023

400+ Indian students and underprivileged children discovered unique floral artworks showcased on the occasion of the flagship event “Swiss Art Night – SwitzerlandIndia In Bloom”. After a guided walk through, the young public took part in an empowering exchange on arts and vocational education with 6 Swiss and Indian artists.

The Swiss Art Night was marked by the 75th anniversary of Swiss-Indian Friendship. Embassy grounds were left in the creative hands of 6 flower and bamboo artists from Switzerland and India. This unprecedented collaboration resulted in the set-up of several flower art installations, delivering a powerful message of peace, friendship and sustainability: (see success story #36). The second day of “SwitzerlandIndia in Bloom” was specially dedicated to younger civil society members: 156 underprivileged children from NGOs and 281 students and teachers from various schools and colleges’ arts departments were welcomed to the Embassy to take a stroll through the flower installations and let their imagination be carried away by their designs: “Is it a flower cloud? a giant bird? or a vegetation totem?”

After this museum-like walkthrough and unmissable photo sessions, all participants were invited to have a seat in the Embassy’s garden area. They met Dr. Heckner, Ambassador of Switzerland in India, and his wife, Dr. Macconi, Swiss floral artists Myrta Frohofer, Hannah Knoblauch, Philipp von Arx, and their Indian counterparts Adarsh Suresh and Shreeram Kulkarni, as well as bamboo artist Sagar D. Singh. All intervenors shared personal insights on their vocational journey, and the vibrant passion they held for their respective activities. A particular focus was put on the necessity to educate, train and believe in oneself, especially when following an artistic or alternative career path.

The floor was then opened to questions from the young public, who showed much curiosity for floral artistic practices and the related premiere Swiss-Indian collaboration. After this rich exchange, DJ Barnett took over and charmed us all with catchy rhythms, allowing the evening to culminate in a joyful collective cardio session, with some impressive dancing skills to be witnessed!

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Workshop on Lens-Based Art in Dharamshala
Tibet Museum, Dharamshala - 7 Sept 2023

Award-winning Swiss photographer Manuel Bauer has worked in the Himalayas and South Asia for decades. In Dharamshala he held a workshop about his experiences as a lens-based artist ranging from still photography to shooting documentaries.

Award-winning Swiss photographer Manuel Bauer presented a masterclass to a house-full of enthusiastic photographers and film-makers in Dharamshala. The masterclass covered topics of his development as a photographer and his transition to becoming a documentary cameraperson. He showed examples of his photo stories and intimate behind-the scenes images from his book “Journey for Peace: The 14th Dalai Lama”. He talked about how his experience as a still photographer informed his choices while shooting a documentary film about the Dalai Lama. Clips from the as yet unreleased documentary were shown. The session ended with a Q&A with the audience. The masterclass was organized by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam also curators of Dharamshala International Film Festival.

Manuel Bauer who lives in Winterthur has worked profusely as a lens-based artist in the Himalaya region and South Asia and has held many speeches and lectures. His extensive multimedia-portfolio covers a variety of motifs and themes. He devotes a part of his time to mentoring young photographers in different countries as they navigate the first hurdles in this fascinating yet demanding career.

As part of the series, there will also be a workshop by filmmakers Tenzing Sonam & Ritu Sarin about Artistic Documentation & Fictional Storytelling. The filmmakers will showcase their fiction narrative film alongside Manuel’s photo-essay, Escape From Tibet, as an inspiration and a visual guide at two universities in India in 2024.

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Indo-Swiss Collaboration for Improved Disaster Preparedness
Sikkim, 08-21 Sept 2023

An Indo-Swiss expert expedition in Sikkim was a milestone for Switzerland’s technical assistance for enhanced preparedness against Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs).

A team of four Swiss experts and 27 experts from prominent Indian Government agencies installed two monitoring stations and assessed risks related to Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in Sikkim. The 10 days expedition to the high-altitude lakes of Shako Cho and South Lhonak was successfully completed despite harsh weather conditions. Information from the monitoring stations and assessments from the expedition will be vital in designing a pioneering Early Warning System (EWS) and to identify mitigation measures. This pioneer EWS shall serve as reference for other Indian Himalayan States to protect lives and livelihoods.

A GLOF is a flood which occurs when large quantities of water dammed by a glacier or a moraine is released suddenly. The designing of a pioneering GLOF EWS is a joint initiative by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) under the project “Strengthening Climate Change Adaptation in Himalayas” (SCA-Himalayas). Further the Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) provided crucial support during the recent expedition.

Switzerland has been collaborating since multiple years with the Indian partners in the field of Disaster Risk Management in the Himalayan Region to foster scalable adaptation measures and enhanced climate resilience. A cornerstone was the technical support by Swiss experts for the development of the first Guidelines for Management of GLOFs in India published jointly with NDMA in 2020.

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Switzerland – A Golden Destination Personified by Friendship Ambassador Neeraj Chopra
Switzerland, 2023

In this 75th year of Swiss-Indian friendship, Switzerland Tourism honored the reigning Olympic champion and World champion in Men’s javelin throw Neeraj Chopra as Switzerland’s “Friendship Ambassador” in India. The ‘Golden Boy’ of Indian sports visited Switzerland and participated in outdoor and adventure, and shared his experiences with Indian travelers.

Thanks to Bollywood’s romantic interludes shot against Swiss alpine panoramas since the 1960s, Switzerland’s snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, and crystal-clear lakes are immensely popular in India. It is therefore only natural that Switzerland is the most favored European destination in India’s popular consciousness.

In this 75th year of Swiss-Indian ties, Switzerland Tourism honoured reigning Olympic champion and World champion in Men’s javelin throw Neeraj Chopra as Switzerland’s “Friendship Ambassador” in India. The Indian sports and youth icon flaunted the spectacular Swiss landscapes, unique cities, efficient public transport and multitudes of adventure activities available across scenic Switzerland. Fondly labeled the ‘Golden Boy of Indian Sports’, Friendship Ambassador Neeraj Chopra, aims to showcase Switzerland as a haven for outdoorsy and adventurous Indian travelers.

With sustainable options and a wide variety of experiences on offer, Switzerland Tourism has effectively popularized Switzerland as an appealing destination all year round, luring more Indian tourists with each passing year.

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A Swiss Author “In Plain Sight” at The Tata Literature Live!
Mumbai & Pune, 27-29 Oct 2033

Award-winning Swiss Author Martina Clavadetscher gave performed readings and conducted writing workshops at the Tata Literature Live! and subsequently for German language students and professors of Pune and Mumbai universities.

Swiss novelist and playwright Martina Clavadetscher represented Switzerland at the Mumbai international literature festival ‘Tata Lit Live 2023’. She gave her first English reading about unknown women in famous paintings, whose faces, captured in an eternal moment, look out at us from famous artworks: Wally Neuzil painted by Egon Schiele, Cecilia Gallerani by DaVinci, and Margeritha Luti by Raffaello. But who were those women, actually? Martina Clavadetscher presented their stories through a performed reading, featuring excerpts from her latest book Vor aller Augen (In Plain Sight). Thundering applause by more than 120 spectators testified that she left a lasting impression on the festival audience, who beelined for a personal interaction with the author after the reading and requested her to publish the English translation of this researched-based fiction for the Indian readers.

Martina Clavadetscher also conducted a creative writing workshop in English with around 25 participants at the festival. Here she used structures and dramaturgy of famous stories and prompted the participants to come up with their own texts during the workshop. The characters and constructs of well-known tales served as an inspiration for the participants to create their own works in the written form.

For the German language students and faculty of around 125 people at the universities of Pune and Mumbai, the Swiss author performed a reading of her prize-winning novel in German and gave the workshop in German ‘Monster, Märchen und Motive’ to encourage the language lovers to create their fiction in a foreign language. The engaging interactions with enthusiastic audiences touched upon many interesting topics from art history to women’s rights to Indians’ love for Switzerland!

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Indo-Swiss Innovation Platform Launched with Antimicrobial Resistance Dialogue
Bengaluru, 29-31 Oct 2023

Swissnex in India successfully launched the ‘Indo-Swiss Innovation Platform’ with its pilot project ‘Indo-Swiss Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Innovation Dialogue’, where 50 experts from Switzerland and India convened to address AMR.

In collaboration with the Embassy of Switzerland in India and the Swiss Business Hub India, Swissnex in India launched the ambitious Indo-Swiss Innovation Platform at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, to give Switzerland’s collaboration with India a more strategic dimension in the areas of health, sustainability and digital transformation. The Platform, which is a new initiative to marry a bottom-up approach with a top-down one for greater impact, was kickstarted with the ‘Indo-Swiss Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Innovation Dialogue’. It requires collaborative effort to be in a position to confront global crises such as antimicrobial resistance. Nearly 50 experts from Switzerland and India gathered for three days to discuss innovative approaches to address AMR. The Dialogue included short presentations, field trips and an immersive module to introduce participants to the Indian innovation ecosystem in the space of AMR, including novel therapeutics, diagnostics and software that enable better implementation of preventive measures and better monitoring systems of ongoing infection patterns.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder of Biocon and India’s most prominent businesswoman, graced the occasion with relevant insights. Others included prominent innovator in drug discovery Dr. Mathai Mammen, India’s science and technology department’s Dr. S.K. Varshney, infectious diseases expert Dr. Annelies Zinkernagel, and Swiss ambassador to India Dr. Ralf Heckner. About the Platform, Mazundar-Shaw said, “I think this is a great, great way of collaborating, sharing knowledge and bringing to the world innovation that will make a difference. Switzerland has a lot of innovative power and India has the talent to start learning to innovate, which is what we need to do. Together, we can really translate this effort into solutions that will actually help the world”.

The idea of the Innovation Platform is to consider matters beyond initial conversations in a planned and thorough manner that leads to tangible, measurable outcomes. Its efforts lie in enabling partnerships and collaborations in subjects that are relevant to both countries, and conducting them in more meaningful and purposeful ways, thereby contributing towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Swiss Sound Experiences at The Jaisalmer Palace
Jaisalmer, 03 Nov - 02 Dec 2023

In the majestic Jaisalmer Palace in Rajasthan two Swiss artists, Zimoun and Fortunat Fröhlich, were being exhibited for over a month. The installations called “Panorama Editions” focused on sound experiences, an aspect of art often overlooked due to prevalent status of the visual dimension.

Jaisalmer, nicknamed Golden City, is a desert town in Rajasthan. On the 4th November 2023 over a dozen embassies and many representatives of the former princely families gathered for the vernissage with artworks from 19 different countries at the Jaisalmer Fort in the former royal abodes. For the installations with the title “Panorama Editions”, the main organizer and artist, Sarah Singh, focused on sound experiences, an aspect of art often overlooked due to the prevalent position of the visual dimension.

The desert as a backdrop was chosen on purpose, since the seemingly “deserted” sand dunes have sounds and lifeforms which only become noticeable with close attention and immersion. Thanks to a collaboration between the Embassy of Switzerland and Pro Helvetia, Switzerland was present with two artists. Zimoun’s installation was placed in the royal audience hall (Diwan-e-Aam). Zimoun is best known for his immersive work which uses home and industrial appliances to create sound and visual impressions. His works explore the dichotomy between simplicity and complexity. Composer Fortunat Fröhlich’s artwork was displayed in two places of the palace, with the musical notes printed out – an artistic interplay between the written and auditory forms of sound.

The exhibition was open to the public for over a month and surprised its audience with contemporary art, in addition to the palace museum exhibiting the artefacts and heirlooms of the former Maharajas. The audience was mainly composed of local Rajasthani and Indian tourists but also international travelers drawn to the land of the rajas (Rajasthan). The desert town of Jaisalmer has another Swiss footprint – three hotels which cater to low-budget backpackers as well as luxury travelers are managed by a Swiss-Indian business venture.

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Supported by Swiss Ski – Winning for India!
Gulmarg, 09 Nov 2023

By winning gold at FIS International Ski Races in Dubai, the Swiss-trained skier from Kashmir Arif Khan became the first Indian skier to win an international ski competition.

On the 9th of November, Arif Khan climbed on the highest step of the Podium at the FIS International Ski Races in Dubai, bringing India its first Gold medal in a FIS (International Ski and Snowboard Federation) competition. Arif wrote a glorious new page in the history of Indian skiing, and brought the mountains of India and Switzerland one step closer.

With its blue lakes and rolling green hills surrounded by majestic snowcapped mountains, Kashmir is often described as the “Switzerland of India.” It is there, in the mountain resort of Gulmarg, that Arif Khan was born in 1990. Arif’s father had opened Gulmarg’s first ski shop in 1976. Arif was literally born on skis and, at the age of twelve, he won its first national competition. Then his dream to become an international skier took him to the Alps, most particularly in Switzerland, to train with the best athletes.

Since 2018, with the support of his sponsors, Arif spends more than six months a year training and competing in Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The Kashmiri skier, who is supported by the Swiss Ski Federation and proudly uses Swiss Skis (Stöckli) – lists Verbier, St Moritz, Zermatt and Saas Fee as his favorite skiing destinations. At the age of 33, Arif has competed in several national and regional competitions, and participated in five Alpine World Ski Championships. He was the only Indian athlete to represent his country at the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in 2022 and the first Indian athlete to compete in two disciplines: slalom and giant slalom. After an injury in July, leaving his “shangri la beneath the summer moon”, Arif will return to Switzerland this winter. He is firmly determined to train harder, win new medals, put Gulmarg on the map, and represent India at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan. This winter, check out for a Kashmiri skier on slopes, resolute to turn more snow into gold!

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Towards Net Zero: Switzerland supports Ahmedabad’s Climate Action Plan
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, 28 Nov 2023

Ahmedabad’s Climate Resilient City Action Plan, supported by Switzerland, was launched at the Urban 20 Mayoral Summit in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on 7th July 2023

Switzerland is proud to support the City of Ahmedabad in realizing its vision to ‘address the climate emergency by leading a bold transition towards a net zero emissions future; fostering resilience in the face rising urban heat, flooding, and natural resource challenges, while considering the principles of equity and gender justice.’ At the U20 Summit held on 7th July 2023, in Ahmedabad, the Ambassador of Switzerland to India along with the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Minister of State, MoHUA and other dignitaries launched the ‘Ahmedabad Climate Resilient City Action Plan – Towards a Net Zero Future’ supported by CapaCITIES project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Switzerland, through its CapaCITIES project, is supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation in eight cities across India. The Phase II of CapaCITIES project seeks to engage with national, state and city level governments to “mainstream climate action in select Indian cities by enhancing capacities to adopt integrated climate resilient planning, design innovative finance mechanisms and develop climate resilient infrastructure”. The project has successfully led to the creation of institutional processes through setting-up of climate core teams and climate stakeholder committees. It has enabled the partner cities to fund climate actions through the regular municipal budgetary processes. Net zero climate action plans are being finalized with the deployment of net zero planning methodology in all eight cities.

Ahmedabad is the largest amongst the eight cities being supported under CapaCITIES project. The net zero climate action plan for Ahmedabad is prepared in collaboration with partners such as C40. In recognition of the support provided by Switzerland for the preparation of Ahmedabad’s Climate Resilient City Action Plan, Swiss Ambassador Dr. Ralf Heckner was invited to be a part of inaugural session of the U20 Summit.

The project now seeks to move beyond eight cities and work with the National and State governments to enhance the uptake of developed methodologies and support implementation across 4000 cities in India. The project would continue supporting cities to implement several national and state schemes that would further enhance low carbon climate resilient city development.

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Switzerland and India Partner to Strengthen Science Journalism
New Delhi, 24-25 Nov 2023

The first ever Science Journalism Conference in India took place on November 24-25, 2023. Switzerland proudly supported this conference organized by the Science Journalist Association of India.

Have you ever struggled to understand science publications cloaked in incomprehensible technical jargon? Or, have you ever felt that the daily newspaper you read should cover more science? On a completely separate issue, have you considered the influence AI will have on your job in the future? If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading.

The first ever Science Journalism Conference in India took place on November 24-25, 2023. Switzerland proudly supported this conference organized by the Science Journalist Association of India (SJAI). The conference brought together writers, scientists and policymakers from across India to discuss AI in journalism, the influence of AI on newsrooms and jobs, mobile journalism, making science accessible to a broad audience, regional science journalism, and much more.

Dr. Helga Rietz, Science Communications Manager at ETH AI Center, Zürich, set the stage with her keynote, wherein she discussed how generative AI can be utilized for science engagement. The conference included a mix of plenary sessions, listening sessions, workshops and networking events (visit SJAI page for updates about the sessions). These provided a platform for stakeholders in the science ecosystem to share best practices, build their skills and engage with one another.

Switzerland has a track record in encouraging and developing capacity in science journalism. In 2019, Switzerland hosted the biannual World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne. In India, the Swiss Development Corporation has been working in media capacity building on climate change topics. Swissnex in India has also organised several workshops for science communicators in the recent years.

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Showcasing Swiss Water Technolgies at India’s Leading Environmental Technology Trade Fair
Mumbai, 17-19 Oct 2023

The Swiss Business Hub, along with Swissenviro, entertained a Swiss pavilion at IFAT 2023, India´s leading environmental technology trade fair. Swiss companies showcased their expertise notably in water management and met with Indian partners and clients. A business networking event took place at the residence of the General Consulate of Switzerland with more than 30 representatives from the industry.

Over the last 10 years, IFAT India became India´s leading environmental technology trade fair with a focus on environmental technologies and sustainable solutions. It takes place once a year in Mumbai and brings together professionals from various subsectors such as water treatment, sewage systems, waste management, as well as recycling. Showcasing innovative products and services, the event provides a platform for knowledge exchange, business networking and collaboration between industry actors, policymakers and environmental experts. The fair features exhibitors from across the globe, highlighting their latest technologies and solutions to address environmental challenges. Ït is an excellent platform to futher nurture Swiss-Indian economic relations in the field of environmental technologies and sanitation.

The Swiss Business Hub India along with the Swiss company Swissenviro entertained a Swiss pavilion at IFAT 2023. It allowed Swiss companies to showcase their expertise and connect to potential partners and clients. In order to further leverage and support the trade fair, the Swiss Business Hub India successfully organised a business networking event at the residence of the General Consulate of Switzerland. More than 30 persons from the industry as well as representatives of Swiss companies interacted with each other and various Indian EPCs.

India has made considerable progress in providing drinking water and safe sanitation to urban and rural households. As of 2023, all households in urban areas and about 60 per cent of rural households have access to tap water connection. However, there is still untapped potential. The target is to ensure water tap connection to every rural household by 2024. In addition, there is a growing focus on technology solutions and new-age equipment for water supply and management, assessment of water quality and effective treatment of wastewater. This offers significant opportunities for Swiss entities and SMEs across the entire water sector value chain.

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Historic First: Swiss Foreign Affairs Committee Met Its Indian Counterpart
Mumbai & New Delhi, 27 Nov - 01 Dec 2023

For the first time ever, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Council of States (the Swiss Senate) was received by its Indian counterpart. Committee President Bischof was warmly welcomed by Mr. P.P. Chaudhury, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs. Discussions focused on the 75 years of Swiss-Indian friendship and the bilateral Trade and Economic Partnership.

On 30 November 2023 in New Delhi, the Council of States’ Foreign Policy Committee was officially received for the very first time by its Indian counterpart, the Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs. After an impressive tour of the new Indian parliament, Committee Chairman, Mr. Pirmin Bischof accompanied by Mr. Andrea Caroni and Mr. Beat Rieder were warmly received by Mr P.P. Chaudury, Chairperson, and Mr. Ritesh Pandey. The celebration of 75 years of peace and friendship between the two countries, democracy, and parliamentary systems were at the centre of this cordial exchange. The Swiss delegation invited its Indian counterpart to visit Switzerland next year.

Another aim of this unprecedented visit was to promote the signing of the Trade and Economic Partnership (TEPA) between Switzerland and India in the context of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Mr. Piyush Goyal, received the delegation on 29 November at 10:10 pm. A clear demonstration of interest in closer economic ties – a vision already shared by the signatories of the bilateral treaty 75 years ago. The Committee mentioned that this Indian visit was the last official one of their current tenures. However, having been re-elected, they would be delighted to as a first act of their renew mandates.

The delegation was able to talk to free trade experts and representatives of the Indian civil society. In Mumbai, the Councillors of States meet several Indian investors, as well as representatives of Swiss companies to discuss the impact of a potential TEPA. They visited two companies successfully operating in India, Sulzer and Belimo, and learnt about the priorities of the Swiss pharmaceutical industry. Everyone agreed on the added value of a trade pact. Furthermore, the Councillors took advantage of their stay to discover the architectural beauties like the Gateway of India and the UNESCO World Heritage Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

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An exclusive community event highlights Swiss-Indian commitment to sustainable living by tackling plastic pollution
Mumbai, 03 Dec 2023

The India chapter of Buy Food with Plastic, a non-profit organization headquartered in Switzerland, was supported by the Swiss Consulate in Mumbai to help tackle the issue of plastic pollution. Through an event organized with the community in Bhandup, families were incentivized with nutritious meals for clearing their neighborhood of plastic bottle waste. Children were sensitized on environmental issues and sustainability with specially designed activities and interactions.

In the spirit of the 75 years of Swiss-Indian friendship, the efforts of Buy Food with Plastic India were supported by the Swiss team in Mumbai in order to create a positive change and raise awareness on ecological problems. This unique Swiss-Indian cooperation not only highlighted the robust relations between the peoples, but also demonstrated Switzerland’s resolute commitment to sustainable development, social inclusion, and upholding of the fundamental right to development.

Since 2020, Buy Food with Plastic India has been organizing events in low-income communities in Bhandup, where residents are encouraged to collect plastic bottles from their locality. As a reward for keeping their neighbourhood free of discarded plastic bottles, the families can barter warm and wholesome meals for the collected bottles. Buy Food with Plastic India sorts the collected plastic bottles and either upcycles them in their facility to create new products that are sold in the market, or forwards them to their recycling partners such as Bisleri and Recircle. Their plastic upcycling factory has created jobs for the youth, thus partly contributing to bettering the economic situation of the residents. The awareness sessions and interactions organised this week inspired young and old to reduce and recycle plastic.

The basic premise of Buy Food with Plastic India aligns directly with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of ‘Responsible Production and Consumption’ and ‘Climate Action’. It also furthers Indian government’s ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan’ initiative. The India chapter for the Swiss non-profit offers a great platform for people from both countries to join hands for a better tomorrow.

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6,000 Christmas Enthusiasts Experienced The Swiss-Indian Friendship Chalet!
New Delhi, 02-03 Dec 2023

Every year on the first weekend in December, the Embassy of Switzerland opens its doors with the German School Parents Association to the magic of the Swiss-German Christmas market. This year, to commemorate 75 years of Swiss-Indian friendship, a typical wooden chalet was specially set up. There, local and international visitors could enjoy a special Swiss dish: the “rösti dosti” (friendship rösti).

Once upon a time in Chanakyapuri: the Swiss-German Christmas market. Taking place every first week-end in December, the popular event was the result of a long-standing cooperation between the Embassy of Switzerland and the German School Parents Association. It was giving everyone – young and old – a chance to capture the festive spirit of the upcoming winter’s holidays.

To celebrate 75 years of friendship between Switzerland and India, the Embassy created a seasonal surprise in the courtyard of the residence: the Swiss-Indian Friendship Chalet. In this traditional wooden pavilion surrounded by posters of snow-covered mountains, the Embassy staff extended a warm welcome to the local and international crowd. A glass of fresh and mineral chasselas white wine; a genuine raclette, still simmering and deliciously placed on a few potatoes flanked by pickles; not forgetting an invigorating portion of the national dish, renamed for the occasion “rösti dosti ” (friendship rösti). A true culinary escapade to the Alps!

During this merry weekend, 6,000 Christmas enthusiasts were able to discover no fewer than 70 stands, including 26 dedicated to a variety of culinary products. Moreover, 22 NGOs used this unique platform to showcase their various charitable operations, obtaining some well-deserved support from the public. A success story to be continued: for next year, the dates have already been set. The Swiss-German Christmas market will take place on 30 November and 1 December, 2024.

In case you missed attending this year’s market, watch the video here that captures the joyful spirit and the delicious treats!

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Coexisting with Nature: Showcasing Wildlife and Technological Synergy through “Triggered by Motion”
Bengaluru, 19 Jan - 31 Jul 2024

Science Gallery Bengaluru features the ‘Triggered by Motion’ exhibit at their CARBON exhibition season, which explores the impacts of digitization on wildlife ecology through camera traps setup globally.

Swissnex in India is a key programme partner for Science Gallery Bengaluru’s (SGB) ongoing exhibition-season, CARBON. In collaboration with the University of Zurich (UZH), they brought the ‘Triggered by Motion’ exhibit, which showcases video footage from two camera traps set up at IIT Madras. The exhibition season was also marked by the distinguished presence of State Secretary Hirayama. Moreover, SGB hosted Katharina Weikl, head of the Art x Science office at UZH to give a talk on “Triggering Enquiries: On Art Science Collaborations”, emphasizing the necessity of collaborating across different disciplines and cultures to effectively address global challenges.

The ‘Triggered by Motion’ exhibit, developed by the University of Zurich’s Graduate Campus and continued by the Art & Science Office, integrates art and science to examine the impacts of digitization on wildlife ecology. It is a video installation using footage from camera traps set up in 21 locations across 14 countries to observe and document animal behaviour. These camera traps, paired with machine learning tools, help analyse ecological data, thus providing insights into biodiversity and environmental changes. The exhibit not only showcases these interactions but also aims to foster a dialogue among scientists, artists, and the public about coexisting with wildlife and the evolving role of technological advancements on ecology.

Since its inception, the “Triggered by Motion” exhibit has been showcased in various prestigious venues globally – Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, the Swiss National Park in Zernez, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai and the Science Gallery in Bengaluru.

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“Watch that Scene, Digging the Dancing Queer”: A Swiss Squad of Colourful Witches Puts an Enchanting Spell on Indian Fans
New Delhi, Goa & Mumbai - 20–24 Dec 2023

Photo Credits: Aman Makkar (Boxout FM)

Friday night and the lights are low… suddenly, an overwhelming explosion of dance and music: The Happy Hype witches in a unique show featured by the Swiss queer dance collective Ouinch Ouinch. Mixing medieval fashion universes with contemporary club culture, they put an enchanting spell on Indian fans in New Delhi, Goa and Mumbai.

What a way to end the year! The Swiss queer dance collective Ouinch Ouinch set the stage ablaze during their debut tour in India. Dressed in long black lace skirts, brightly coloured hats, and extravagant sunglasses, the collective performed at Auro Kitchen & Bar in New Delhi on the Boxout, then in Goa at one of the biggest arts festivals, Serendipity, and finally in Mumbai at the SoHo House.

The collective enchanted the audience with their spellbinding dance moves. They all acted as “Ouinch”, medieval-fashion fairy witches, who were mischievous, exuberant, and seductive. The performance was a blast of energy which invited the audience to dance along and immerse themselves in celebrating diversity in motion. DJ Mulah added to the energy by her electrifying music, mixing Afro and hip-hop rhythms, which raised the tempo on the dance floor. Her India inspired beats were the surprise element that made the audience go even more wild with joy.

The street dance Happy Hype is inspired by the Hype Call, a practice derived from the Krump culture: a dance born in the 90s in the suburbs of Los Angeles, where dancers, driven by the encouragement of those around them, reach a state of trance. This tour was a collaboration with Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Boxout FM, Gaysi Foundation, Keshav Suri Foundation and Serendipity Arts Foundation.

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India Brightest Youngsters Test Their Knowledge In Fiercely Contested Swiss Quizzes
Bhubaneshwar, Ambala & Hyderabad - 17-Nov, 12-Dec 2023 & 19 Jan 2024

Three quizzing activities took place in the cities of Bhubaneshwar, Ambala and Hyderabad. Hundreds of Indian students prepared diligently for these momentous occasions which celebrated the Indo-Swiss Friendship and knowledge in general. Exceptional performance, lots of fun and emotions!

Bhubaneshwar, 17th November 2023, Deputy Head of Mission, Dr Olivier Fink, welcomes around 150 students and elaborates on the 75 Years of Indo-Swiss Friendship, before the quizmaster starts the first round of questions. This round will lead to the selection of six finalist teams which will compete on the stage in different rounds using sound snippets, video excerpts, buzzers, and images. Every field of knowledge with links to Switzerland or Indo-Swiss relations is fair game. It takes three hours and countless questions until the lucky winner duo receives the laurels and prize-goodies.

Ambala, 12th December 2023, the hall of the school auditorium is slowly filling up. Students from the city of Ambala, but also the surrounding areas are slowly pouring into the place where the Swiss Quiz Ambala edition is to take place, convened by the partner organization Quizcraft. Two school students are revising their notebooks where information on Switzerland has painstakingly by noted. Facts and figures on Swiss history, geography, polity, society, innovations, economy, famous and historic people, sports, varia and of course Swiss-Indian linkages have been carefully researched and included in their preparatory notes. Elite schools, public and private schools and also students from under-privileged backgrounds, all are flocking into the event venue. Two girls, both 9th Graders from a school of Himachal Pradesh, made it to the first place, with a breathtaking range of correct answers on marmots, mountains, rivers, watch brands, political system, dams of Switzerland and more. As they receive many praises and goodies, the teacher explains with a tear in her eye that the winning students come from a “very simple background” and that their victory “means a lot to our entire school”.

THyderabad, 19th January, the stage is set at the B.M. Birla Science Museum. Curious young minds from different schools are busy solving the preliminary round of the exciting Swiss-Indian Friendship Quiz. 6 teams qualify for the final, where the quizmaster tests their knowledge on raclette, Swiss inventions, Romansh dialects, among other topics. Audience participation was at an all-time high with several students vying for Swiss goodies with correct answers. A confident and well-prepared duo of ninth graders scored a landslide victory in the final round. It was fun to engage with eager and curious students on the stage, probing their newly acquired wealth of knowledge on Switzerland. Many were incredibly well prepared and knew answers even Swiss people might have had difficulty coming up with!

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A Moment in the Sun: Foreign Ministers Cassis and Jaishankar celebrate 75 Years of Bilateral Friendship
New Delhi, 05 Feb 2024

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis was graciously received at the Hyderabad House by the Indian Minister for External Affairs, H.E. Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The 75 years of Swiss-Indian friendship were at the heart of the discussions, as well as peace in Ukraine. All this over a working lunch of delicious Indian dishes, punctuated by a very special Swiss gift.

Monday, the 5th February, 2024, like the first day of spring in the sumptuous setting of the Hyderabad House. In front of the Swiss and Indian flags, H.E. Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs, warmly shakes hands with his colleague, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The working visit begins in a hushed lounge with a tête-à-tête devoted to peace efforts in Ukraine, for which Switzerland has undertaken to organise a high-level conference next March.

Time to sit down to lunch. A magnificent menu of exquisite traditional Indian dishes awaits the delegations. The two ministers congratulate each other on 75 years of bilateral peace and friendship. An early conclusion of the free trade agreement, which has been under negotiation for over 16 years and for which Dr Cassis travelled to India as a member of parliament in 2007, is discussed between delicious fish fingers in Kerala style and a tasty mutton mince with colourful south Indian condiments. Scientific collaboration of the new Indo-Swiss innovation platform (see success story #42) is highlighted over exquisite butter chicken, tender sole and aromatic saffron rice. An insightful exchange on the benefits and challenges of digitalisation takes place over a divine deep-fried soft cheese dumpling stuffed with chocolate and soaked in sugar syrup.

To thank his thoughtful host, Federal Councillor Cassis presented him with a very special gift: a Swatch-Omega called Mission to the Sun – the star of the collection dedicated to the iconic Speedmaster Moonwatch, the first watch worn on the moon. The bioceramic watch in bright sun yellow with a sophisticated sunbrushed golden-colored dial and white Velcro strap is a perfect tribute to India’s Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya-L1 successes. During this most cordial exchange Switzerland and India have their moment in the sun, quite literally.

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CERN at India Art Fair
New Delhi, 01 Jan - 07 Jan 2024

How can science and art come together, enhance and inspire each other in a complementary way? That is exactly what Monica Bello, curator at CERN, discussed with scientists, artists, students and art lovers in New Delhi.

Art and Physics may seem worlds apart, but it can be worthwhile to see how they interact with each other. As Head of Arts at the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, Mónica Bello has been instrumental in fostering partnerships and promoting artistic endeavors within the scientific community at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). As part of her visit in India, Bello gave a lecture to students and professors at the Department of Physics and Astrophysics, Delhi University, where she explained linkages between creative and research communities and their impact on contemporary culture. The students were shown some of the results of how art and science respond to each other at the CERN. She also shared the stage with well-known art curators from India and Germany at the India Art Fair, the leading platform for modern and contemporary art in South Asia. The discussions were themed around the question “how art and art organisations can tangibly bring about change and address issues of global ecology and societal issues?”

Bello introduced to the audience the Connect India residency awarded to Swiss artist Elisa Storelli and Indian artist Rohini Devasher, as part of the collaboration between Arts at CERN and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. At the Embassy of Switzerland, Bello was joined by Indian artist and amateur astronomer Rohini Devasher who shared her experience as an artist in residency at CERN and International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) in Bengaluru. She shared the development of her project, In a Mirror, Darkly and her on-going artistic practise: The Standard Model. It was revealing to learn about her experience and encounters with some of the over 12’000 physicists working at CERN to develop her research-based project. The audience at the Embassy witnessed a discussion not only about art at CERN, but also about the nature of the universe, the laws it is governed by, and the position of humans in the cosmos.

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Dog, Woman, Man – A Swiss Story in Indian Voices!
Mumbai, Dec 19 2023

Renowned Swiss author Sibylle Berg’s acclaimed work has been adapted, produced and directed by an Indian theater group in Hindi for performances across India – thus enabling cross-cultural conversations.

A dog insightfully narrates the odd behavior between a man and woman, who have bound themselves to one another even though neither can stand the other’s company. When they meet for the first time the dog runs up to them and from then on stays because it has nothing to lose and it seeks shelter in a warm apartment. This unique scenario forms the crux of Kutta Aurat Aadmi, the Hindi adaptation of Swiss-German playwright Sibylle Berg’s celebrated play “Dog, Woman, Man” (original: Hund Frau Mann). The satire, social commentary, gender dynamics and visual metaphors resonate well with urban India, even though the story was written more than 23 years ago.

Mumbai-based Afsana Theater got Berg’s play “Hund Frau Mann” translated in Hindi titled ‘Kutta, Aurat, Aadmi’ and adapted it for the Hindi commercial theater with full creative responsibility in consultation with Sibylle Berg’s office. The play premiered in Mumbai at the prestigious Prithvi Theater Festival and was subsequently performed at the illustrious Qadir Ali Baig Theater festival in Hyderabad. Afsana Theater has given a total of 6 performances so far with an outreach of around 1000 spectators. New shows will be announced in more Indian cities to bring this Swiss literary gem to more Indian theater enthusiasts.

The project has been supported by Goethe Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai and the Consulate General of Switzerland in Mumbai under the aegis of the SwitzerlandIndia75 campaign. Literary adaptations facilitate people to people interactions and explore cultural synergies between Switzerland and India. Riding on the success of the translation of Charles Lewinsky’s ‘Die Besetzung’ into the super successful Marathi play ‘Adlay kaa?’, the first Swiss theater work adapted for India in 2022, ‘Kutta, Aurat, Aadmi’ is indeed a continuation of a theatrical success story that will announce more shows in the coming days.

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Swiss-Indian Architectural Fusion
New Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Mumbai, Feb 16 - Feb 28 2023

The Embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi in collaboration with Swissnex in Bangalore and the General Consulate in Mumbai came up with a dense itinerary for acclaimed architect Peter Zumthor in a One-Switzerland approach.

At the India Design Week in New Delhi, Peter Zumthor, together with celebrated Indian architect Bijoy Jain, conversed about the philosophy and practice of architecture. Afterwards, Zumthor visited the fair where he was warmly received by numerous fans who wanted to interact with the energetic elderly Swiss architect. While handing out the “Architect of the Year” award, Peter Zumthor spoke against “design” as a superficial, adorning element, and in favor of authenticity with the place, light, materials. At the Red Fort in New Delhi, he visited an exhibition about women in architecture. Proceeding to Chandigarh, Zumthor stopped over numerous landmark buildings, amongst them the secretariat, which was previously depicted on the 10-CHF bill.

Zumthor started his sojourn in Bangalore with a visit to the Indian Institute of Management of Bangalore, designed by B.V. Doshi. The complex is built in granite stone from the Deccan Plateau blending inside and outside spaces in typical tropical modernist fashion. Thereafter, he came by the newly opened Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), where he could admire the museum’s collection and high-tech features. At a public event hosted at the Indian Institute of Science’s largest auditorium, 750 attendees enjoyed the chemistry on stage between Zumthor and local architect Bijoy Ramachandran in a conversation that lasted 90 minutes. Additional visits included the factory of Phantom Hands; the newly opened Science Gallery Bengaluru; and the Bhogandishwara Temple dedicated to Shiva and dating back to the 9th or 10th century CE.

As soon as Zumthor’s dialogue with India’s leading conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah was announced, the registrations started pouring in with over 1700 signups in no time! The candid conversation unraveled the intricacies of Zumthor’s minimalist and innovative design principles and explored his architectural legacy. Zumthor complimented India’s rich handiworks, which evoke emotions and advised that “handcrafted” buildings should thus focus on connecting with the people emotionally. During his stay in Mumbai, he paid a visit to the 12th-century Walkeshwar Shiva temple and the Banganga Water Tank in the heart of Mumbai, as well as to some of the restored historic buildings including a public library a synagogue and Mahatma Gandhi’s home.

Peter Zumthor’s visit has shown the sustained interest in India in discussions on architecture and its many facets. In the years to come, millions of houses will be built, with opportunities for architects and private sector alike.

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Saving Lives with India Disaster Response Force
New Delhi, 26 Feb 2024

Swiss humanitarian aid experts to coach and mentor India’s National Disaster Response Force to achieve international classification in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR).

In a world increasingly affected by climate change-related risks, a professional and efficient disaster response force that can be deployed everywhere, at any time, is essential to save lives and support recovery. Both Switzerland and India share this goal and have enshrined it in an agreement on “Cooperation in the event of disasters” in 2003. Under the aegis of this agreement, Switzerland and India signed a “Statement of Intent” on 26th February, 2024, marking the next big step in their long-standing collaboration in building capacities for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR).

The partnership in disaster response between the two countries started in 2008 with a decade long capacity building of India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the world’s single largest force dedicated to disaster response. In the framework of this partnership, multiple Swiss experts will coach and mentor the NDRF battalion in Ghaziabad, with the aim to achieve the globally recognized “External Classification” of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) over the next two years. This classification aims to benchmark the USAR teams from different countries, against a common standard. The USAR teams, classified under the same category, can seamlessly coordinate their efforts towards extending support to a disaster-affected country. This collaboration is a new milestone as Switzerland and India commemorate 75 years of friendship.

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Merging of Tracks Between the Best of Swiss and Indian Innovation
New Delhi, 13 Mar 2024

Some of the best minds from Switzerland and India agree to collaborate to develop the breakthrough Hyperloop technology in India and propel the future of transportation.

In March 2024, two pioneering start-ups from Switzerland and India signed an agreement to collaborate for the joint development of the breakthrough Hyperloop technology in India. Swisspod Technologies, a spin-off of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and TuTr Hyperloop, incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly spearhead the design and operation of a testing centre in India which would serve as a hub for refining hyperloop technology, facilitating relevant experiments, and validating its feasibility in real-world conditions.
Hyperloop technology promises a future of ultra-high-speed ground transportation systems, consisting of levitating vehicles (pods) in low-pressure tubes that enable rapid and sustainable mobility.

Held at the Swiss Residence in New Delhi, the signing ceremony was hosted by Dr Ralf Heckner, the Swiss Ambassador to India and Bhutan. The Chief Guest of the ceremony was Ms. Jaya Varma Sinha, Chairperson and CEO of the Railway Board of India. More than sixty people were present for the event which included industry leaders from the Swiss and Indian ecosystems across key industries such as infrastructure, power and mobility. As part of the ceremony, a panel discussion was moderated by the Swiss Business Hub India, where the CEO of Swisspod, Mr. Denis Tudor, and the Founder CTO of TuTr, Mr. Aravind S Bharadwaj, shared their vision on the potential for commercialisation of Hyperloop in India. Key factors that were highlighted for its successful implementation included the deployment and integration of steel and construction technologies, along with the leveraging of young talent powered by academic institutions.

This partnership arises in the broader context of enhanced bilateral cooperation between Switzerland and India. There exists huge potential in channelling Swiss technological prowess in the mobility sector towards the ongoing sectorial advancements in India. The Swisspod and TuTr partnership has been shaped by high-level, public-private interactions that took place at the World Economic Forum 2024 in Davos. Additionally, through an ongoing ministerial dialogue, both countries should be formalising their cooperation with the objective of adapting best practices in conventional and emerging mobility technologies and procedures. The landmark Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed in March 2024 between EFTA countries and India, will serve as a meaningful vehicle for further strengthening this bilateral cooperation.

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Mural at the Visa Centre Illustrates the Growing Success of the Friendship Between Switzerland and India
New Delhi, 22 Mar 2024

The year 2023-2024 is an important one for India and Switzerland, as it marks the completion of 75 years of friendship. The new mural in the visa center bears witness to the deep understanding of this successful journey, marked by an all-time record: 200,000 visas processed in one year!

To celebrate 75 years of bilateral relations between India and Switzerland, the wall of the visa centre has been adorned with a mural created by Indian artist Shivani Kohli (The Artickle Design) and her team. The work illustrates the growing friendship between the two countries, based on strong people-to-people links, made possible by the historic production of almost 200,000 visas last year.

The brightly coloured composition pays homage to the Bollywood film crews who are behind the Indian love affair with the Swiss Alps. As well as the peaceful harmony of the Alpine landscape, it also evokes innovation and technology, major elements of the Swiss national identity. The official inauguration of the mural took place on 22 March 2024 in the presence of delighted staff.

The visa service at the Swiss embassy in New Delhi centralises visa applications for the whole of India. It is currently the largest in the Swiss diplomatic network in the world. With its exemplary organisation, it serves as a model and is regularly visited by Swiss and foreign delegations.

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From Friendship Treaty to TEPA: A Success Story to Be Continued
New Delhi, 10 Mar 2024

As the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Friendship Treaty between Switzerland and India are brought to a close, fresh ink has been applied on the next milestone agreement. After 16 years and 21 rounds of negotiation, the governments of India and of the European Free-Trade Association (EFTA), lead by Switzerland, have signed the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA). It is the most important pact to come into force between Switzerland and India. This partnership will define the next 75 years of bilateral ties.

The TEPA is the first comprehensive trade agreement that India concludes with European countries. Finalized by Honorable Commerce Minister Goyal and Federal Councilor Parmelin, it covers all aspects of trade going well beyond trade itself: goods, services, investments, sustainability, intellectual property. It is not a classic free-trade agreement. The far-reaching and unprecedented objectives on investments in India call for long-term commitment and a genuine longstanding partnership.

As the SwitzerlandIndia75 wall of fame is showing you, Switzerland’s presence in India is highly multifaceted. In the negotiation of the TEPA, each and every entity of the Swiss network played its part resolutely. From our two consulates general in Mumbai and Bangalore, through the Swiss cooperation programmes on climate change, to the services and staff of the Swiss Embassy, each unit has collectively contributed to the success of the whole.

The TEPA will become a decisive driver for many of Switzerland’s objectives in India. Fostering innovation, channeling trade and investments, reinforcing sustainability, promoting the energy transition, strengthening people-to-people relations – to name just a few obvious examples. In this respect, the TEPA will be the embodiment of a new 75-year bilateral chapter. It is inviting each and every one of us to keep achieving valuable goals and projects, with all the more zeal. “Success stories to be continued!”

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