The president of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind paid an official visit to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia from September 9-17, 2019 to strengthen economic and political ties with these countries. He was accompanied by First Lady Savita Kovind and other high level delegations.
Visit to Iceland:
Ram Nath Kovind as his first leg of the tri nation visit, landed in Reykjavik, Iceland on September 9 2019. This is the first visit by the President of India to Iceland since the visit of Dr.Abdul Kalam in 2005. He was welcomed by President of Iceland, His Excellency Mr. Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson at his Bessastadir Residence.
Memorandum of Understandings(MoUs) signed:
The two nations signed 3 MoUs from 2019 till 2022 by Ram Nath Kovind and his counterpart Jóhannesson.
- Fisheries collaboration,
- Cultural cooperation
- Visa waiver by Iceland to holders of diplomatic and official passport.
Indian delegation: The president lead the Indian delegation which comprised of Smt. Debasree Chaudhury, Minister of State(MoS) for Women and Child Development, Dr. Ramapati Ram Tripathi, Member of Parliament(MP), Lok Sabha, Shri Basant Kumar Panda (MP) along with 35 member Indian business delegation
Delegation level talks:
- Both the nations committed to work together to strengthen the global fight against terrorism.
- Cooperation by India with Iceland to combat climate change, marine litter and other environmental issues.
- India’s gratitude for the longstanding support that Iceland had expressed for its(India) candidature for permanent membership of the UN(United Nations) Security Council was reiterated.
- Indian companies would provide opportunities to the people of Iceland in pharma, high-end IT(Information & Technology) services, biotechnology, automobile, innovation and start-up areas.
Address by the president At the University of Iceland
- Shri Kovind delivered a lecture on the India-Iceland partnership on the theme “India-Iceland for a Greener planet” in making a greener planet, at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik.
- Announcement of teaching Hindi language at the university in the near future was made where all the formalities to set up the Hindi chair had already been completed.
- The Indian President said that though India remained as the fastest growing economy it still required a huge expansion of energy production in a sustainable manner, and also considered its commitment under the Paris Agreement along with its growth.
- He talked about the Around CHIPKO ANDOLAN(also called chipko movement), of India, to save trees, forests and preserve mountain ecology.
- India’s commitment: India’s greenhouse gas emission intensity of its GDP(Gross Domestic Product) is to be reduced by 33 to 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. India’s commitment to ban single use plastic by 2022 was also discussed. Recently india also hosted the 14th UN Convention to Combat Desertification in India from 2-13 September 2019.
Address by President at community reception hall:
The President also attended the Indian Community and Friends of India Reception, hosted by the Ambassador of India to Iceland, Shri T. Armstrong Changsan on the eve of September 9, 2019.
- He thanked the people of Iceland for assisting the cultural ambassadors of India representing the old age belief “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”(entire world is one family).
- He appreciated the efforts made by Iceland to maintain healthy relationship with India such as The Indo-Icelandic Friendship Society and the Iceland-Pondicherry Friendship Association.
- Embassy commitment: He praised the commitment of Indian embassy in reaching the Icelandic people through digital platforms such as MADAD (Mobile Application for Desired Assistance During travel) with simpler E-visas and OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India)Card processes.
- He visited Iceland’s Prime Minister, Ms. Katrín Jakobsdóttir on September 10, 2019.
- He visited the 8th century parliament – ‘Althingi’. Also known as Thingvellir, it is one of the oldest parliament in the world.
- Kovind congratulated the Iceland President Johannesson on assuming the chair of the Arctic Council (high-level intergovernmental forum) in which India is an observer and had also invited Iceland to join the International Solar Alliance(ISA) which is headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana, India.
India-Iceland Business Forum
The president addressed the India-Iceland business forum in Reykjavik on the final leg of his visit to Iceland on September 11, 2019.
- The two nations discussed the expansion of trade, investment, technology and innovation collaborations which would be part of India’s 5 trillion dollar economy by 2025, commitment of 175 GigaWatts (GW) of electricity from renewable sources by 2022.
- The President also said that these two nation’s relationships could also lead to Fourth Industrial Revolution and the machine-intelligence age.
- India expressed its will to use Iceland’s capacity in sustainable sectors such as fishery, marine economy, shipping, green growth, energy, construction and agriculture.
- Professionals, especially in the field of geothermal energy from Iceland were invited to be part of the transformational journey of India.
Painting of Lonar and book presentation:
- Painting of Lonar, which is the largest lake created by the impact of a meteor in the ballistic deccan plateau of Maharashtra was gifted by Indian president to his Icelandic counterpart.
- Books on the story of valour and sacrifice of Indian soldiers during the World War I named “India and the Great War” were also presented.
Visit to Switzerland
The president of india visited Switzerland from September 11-14, 2019 as part of the tri nation visit. The president was welcomed by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ueli Maurer at Bern, Switzerland.The important events are mentioned below as follows,
On September 13, 2019 India and Switzerland signed 3 agreements by president Kovind and his Swiss counterpart Ueli Maurer.
- Technical cooperation on climate change.
- Alliance in science and technology.
- Renewal of Hindi chair at the University of Lausanne..
Address at the Federal Council of Switzerland
- To prevent tax evasion and money laundering links with terrrorism, 1st automatic exchange of information on tax matters was conducted after Indian president addressed the Federal Council(highest executive authority) of Switzerland.
- The president, talked about the confidence in youth to script the machine-intelligence age and to draw the contours of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
India-Switzerland Business CEOs Forum
The president of India addressed the India-Switzerland Business CEOs(Chief Executive Officers) Forum in Berne.
- In the forum he spoke about the target of producing 6 to 7 million electric and hybrid vehicles by 2020.
- India is the third largest Start-up network in the world with over 21,000 enterprises.
- He also talked about the Swiss partnership in the flagship Make in India, Smart Cities, Digital India, Clean India, Startup India and Skill India programmes.
Gandhi statue unveiled:
Ram Nath Kovind unveiled unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Swiss town of Villeneuve situated on the shore of lake Geneva. It was a gift from the Indian govt. commissioned by Indian Council for Cultural Relations(ICCR).
Visit to the university of Bern
- Shri Kovind addressed the University of Bern on the theme ‘India-Switzerland: New Age Partnership- Connecting Himalayas with Alps”. The democracy of the two nations were spoken about, where Switzerland is the oldest democracy and India is the largest democracy in the world with 900 million electorate.
- He spoke about the india’s water conservation efforts and about the Jal Jeevan Abhiyan scheme that aims to provide tap water to 146 million households by 2024. This mission is expected to provide opportunities for Indo-Swiss collaboration.
- Later president addressed the Indian Community and Friends of India at a reception hosted by Shri Sibi George, Ambassador of India to Switzerland in Berne.
Delegation level talks:
- The two leaders committed to strengthening the ties of India and Switzerland.
- The Swiss nation extended its support to India to fight against terrorism.
Visit to Slovenia:
The president Shri Kovind made his final leg visit to Slovenia from Sep 15- 17, 2019 and held high level talks. This is the first ever visit by an Indian president to Slovenia. He was welcomed by the president of Slovenia Borut Pahor in Ljubljana.
India and Slovenia signed 7 MoUs together by Indian and the Slovenian president. They are cooperation in the field of
- River rejuvenation(clean Ganga mission)
India Slovenia business forum
- The president addressed the Slovenia-India Business Forum in Lubliyana and focussed on various business approaches. He called upon Slovenian business delegation to discover economic energy and dynamism of New India which has a third largest scientific pool of scientists in the world and which attracted 44.3 billion US dollars of Foreign Direct Investment in 2018-19.
- He also talked about the India-Europe 29 business forum conducted annually for business collaborations
- Simplified visa procedures that would enhance business partnerships were discussed.
Delegation level talks:
- Both nation presidents discussed the Cooperation in High Tech, Clean Technology, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence as a way of strengthening their partnerships.
- The president met the prime minister of Slovenia, Marjan Šarec at Ljubljana Castle.
Currency- Icelandic krona.
Currency- Swiss franc.