India today got the backing of Switzerland in its bid to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group ahead of the elite group’s crucial meeting even as the two countries resolved to strengthen cooperation in combating tax evasion and blackmoney. Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann announced his country’s support to India’s membership in the 48-member grouping after holding comprehensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.
Agreeing to expand cooperation in tackling the problem of Indians stashing blackmoney in Swiss banks was one of the key focus areas of the talks between the two leaders besides stepping up ties in areas of trade, investment and vocational training. “We have promised India support in its efforts to become a member of NSG,” Schneider-Ammann said at a joint media interaction.
India has been pushing for membership of the bloc for last few years and had formally moved its application on May 12. The grouping will take up India’s application in its plenary meetings on June 9 in Vienna and June 24 in Seoul. “I am thankful to the President for Switzerland’s understanding and support for India’s membership of the NSG,” Modi said.
The NSG looks after critical issues relating to the nuclear sector and its membership will help India expand its atomic energy sector. Modi also said combating the menace of black money and tax evasion was “shared priority” for both the countries.
“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.