70 Years of Swiss-Indian Friendship

Written by Michelle Erdin

H.E. Sibi George, Ambassador of India, and Dr. Piyush Singh, First Secretary, honoured Focus India with their presence on the first day of the preparatory seminar. They provided us with valuable insights into the 70 Years Swiss-Indian Friendship, which was celebrated in 2018. Ambassador Sibi George praised India to be the land of a billion ideas and opportunities. 

Ambassador H.E. Sibi George started his powerful speech by stressing the importance of student projects such as Focus India. He views the flagship project as a young, vibrant, forward-looking initiative that fosters the friendship between Switzerland and India. Focus India symbolises ”West meets East”

2018 was a memorial year for India. India celebrated the 70 Years Swiss-Indian Friendship, and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, who peacefully led India into freedom. After India’s independence in 1948, India chose Switzerland to be the first country to begin diplomatic relations with. Ambassador H.E. Sibi George affirmed the friendship to be forward-looking and engaging. On many levels – such as in business, science, technology – dialogue takes place. For instance, the MISSP initiative (Momentum in India: Swiss SMEs Programme) was launched by the Ambassador H.E. Sibi George as a platform for market entry services for Swiss SMEs in India. The program aims to promote business relations between India and Switzerland. 

After Ambassador H.E. Sibi George’s speech, Focus India received insights into the Swiss perspective of doing business in India by Philippe Reich, Chairman of the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce (SICC). It was a perfect transition to learn about different diplomatic views. Philippe Reich asserted how the two countries approach business very differently. Indians tend to be more opportunity-oriented when it comes to making a decision, whereas the Swiss assess the risk of the business opportunity. He emphasised some of the challenges the Swiss may face when considering entering the Indian market. Pivotal to success in the Indian market is long-term thinking, identifying market potential, assessing possible partnerships, and finding mutual interests amongst them. 

Pivotal to success in the Indian market is long-term thinking, identifying market potential, assessing possible partnerships and finding mutual interests amongst them. – Philippe Reich, Chairman of Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce

We were pleased to conduct interviews with both Ambassador H.E. Sibi George and Philippe Reich, Chairman SICC. Watch the video to get unique insights into the Swiss-Indian Friendship, the MISSP initiative, and much more.

by Michael Egorov

Read more about the Preparatory Seminar of Focus India here.