Kashmir situation will be on agenda during talks with Prez Kovind: Swiss govt.

Mr. Kovind will embark on a three-nation tour next week, covering Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia.

September 06, 2019 08:33 pm | Updated 08:33 pm IST - New Delhi

Ram Nath Kovind

Ram Nath Kovind

Ahead of President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Switzerland, the European country on Friday said situation in Kashmir and other regional matters will be among the issues that will be discussed during the meetings that the Indian leader will have with the top Swiss officials.

Mr. Kovind will embark on a three-nation tour next week, covering Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia, from September 9 onwards and will be back in Bern on September 13.

The official talks at the Bernerhof in the afternoon will be attended by President Maurer, Vice President Simonetta Sommaruga and Federal Councillors Guy Parmelin und Ignazio Cassis, the Swiss government said in a release.

Discussions will include the envisaged free trade agreement that the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and India have been negotiating since 2008, it said.

“Cooperation between Switzerland and India on energy and transport will also be addressed. Other items on the agenda include climate change, global security issues and human rights, the situation in Kashmir and India’s regional situation,” the statement said.

After the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir last month, the Swiss government had also updated its travel advisory which said “it is not advisable to go to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, so also in the Kashmir valley”, observing that the Indian government has restricted freedom of assembly and circulation, limited Internet and telephone connections, and strengthened security forces.

Noting that bilateral relations between Switzerland and India are close and have long been characterised by high mutual esteem, the release said, President Kovind’s State visit to Switzerland this year continues the series of regular contacts between the two countries.

The main areas in which there is potential for strengthening bilateral cooperation include economic affairs and finance, as well as science, research and education, the statement said.

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