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India wins Swiss support to tackle black money

PTI Geneva | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on June 06, 2016

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Switzerland backs India’s bid for NSG membership

In a major boost to its diplomatic push for NSG membership, India today managed to win crucial support of Switzerland ahead of a key meeting of the 48-nation bloc even as the two countries agreed to step up cooperation in unearthing black money stashed by Indians in Swiss banks.

Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann announced his country’s support to India’s membership in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) after holding comprehensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of bilateral and global issues.

Switzerland is a key member of the NSG and its support to India’s bid for membership of the elite grouping was seen as crucial in the backdrop of China harping on the need for consensus as India was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“We have promised India support in its efforts to become a member of NSG,” Schneider-Ammann said at a joint media interaction with Modi.

In his remarks, Modi thanked the Swiss President for their “understanding and support” for India’s membership of the NSG. He also said combating the menace of black money and tax evasion was “shared priority” for both the countries.

The US and many other NSG member countries have supported India’s inclusion based on its non-proliferation track record.

The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.

India has been pushing for membership of the bloc for the last few years and had formally moved its application on May 12 that will be taken up for consideration in its plenary meetings on June 9 in Vienna and June 24 in Seoul.

The Prime Minister is likely to raise the issue with the leadership of Mexico, another key member of the NSG.

During the talks, Modi and Schneider-Ammann agreed to expand cooperation in tackling the problem of Indians stashing black money in Swiss banks besides resolving to step up ties in areas of trade, investment and vocational training.

He also said both the sides agreed to support each other for their respective bids for the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

“We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders.

“An early start to negotiations on the agreement on the automatic exchange of information would be important in this respect,” Modi said.

On his part, the Swiss President said both the countries are making considerable progress in fighting tax fraud and evasion.

Indian tax authorities are probing cases of tax evasion and blackmoney stashed abroad. The probe had gained momentum after a leaked list of hundreds of Indian clients of HSBC’s Geneva branch found its way to the Indian tax authorities.

Last month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said India had signed an agreement with Switzerland and received details of those people having accounts in HSBC.

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Published on June 06, 2016
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