September 12, 2019
India’s new national water mission offers significant opportunities for Indo-Swiss collaboration
Over 80 institutions and 300 researchers from India, Switzerland have partnered with each other
India is home to the world’s third largest startup network with more than 21,000 enterprises
Swiss clean technology and Indian green energy requirements are well-suited for collaboration
India and Switzerland have the opportunity to enter into “new-age partnerships” and cooperate in different sectors in the digital age, said President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Switzerland in his address at the University of Berne, during the second leg of his tri-nation visit to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia in September 2019.
Observing that India and Switzerland shared a long tradition of democratic values, had rich cultural engagements and a long history of bilateral cooperation, he expressed the need to strengthen collaboration in the growing area of renewable energy, especially since Swiss clean technology capabilities go hand-in-hand with Indian green energy requirements.
Moreover, India’s new national water mission aims to provide clean tap water to 146 million households by 2024, creating significant opportunities for Indo-Swiss collaboration, he pointed out. Shri Kovind also expressed India’s interest in engaging with Switzerland on water governance, water use efficiency, and treatment of wastewater.
Combined, there are over 250 Swiss companies operating in India and Indian tech firms and innovation majors based in Zurich, Basel, and Berne, proving the sector’s immense potential for collaboration. He highlighted the fact that cooperation in science, technology and innovation was increasing, with over 80 scientific institutions and 300 researchers from India and Switzerland having already connected with each other on joint programmes.
Hosting the world’s third largest startup network, with over 21,000 enterprises, India is at the forefront of this fast developing sector, he said. The potential for collaboration is significant between the two countries, as illustrated by several Swiss and Indian startups collaborating to create solutions for climate change, human health, and more. Shri Kovind reiterated India’s ambitious programme to build 100 smart cities and identified Swiss expertise in circular economy and resource efficiency as integral in achieving this target.
The Union Budget for financial year 2018-19 increased budgetary allocations by 6-18 per cent for various science ministries and departments, enabling an expanding pool of foreign financing and participation. This has helped funding of critical R&D projects, sharing of innovations and intellectual properties as well as exchange of critical human resources between India and foreign partners.