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G20 presidency: Switzerland will extend support to India in navigating challenging environment, says Swiss Ambassador

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New Delhi: Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, Swiss Ambassador to India Ralf Heckner on Monday said whatever Switzerland and India can do to steer the current conflict and war towards a peaceful future, it will be very much appreciated by the world.

In an interview with PTI here, he also said that Switzerland will extend support wherever it can to India in navigating the challenging environment in which the country is presiding over the G20.

Switzerland and India have completed 75 years of diplomatic ties and are working closely in various areas.

To a query on whether we can see India and Switzerland pushing for some kind of solution at some point in time for the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Ambassador said, “Yes. For sure”.

“When it comes to G20, we are mindful of the fact that this is a very difficult international environment for India presiding over G20. So, Switzerland is a permanent invitee to the finance track of G20. The Indian government invited Switzerland to the finance track of G20, and we are very grateful to the Indian government for that.

“Switzerland will be a country that will be in favour of dialogue when it comes to G20. We will support India wherever India can be supported when it comes to navigating the challenging environment in which India is presiding over G20,” he said.

On whether channels are open for any kind of proactive approach with India and Switzerland together to de-escalate the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Heckner said Switzerland and India are doing their part.

“We also had interactions between the Finance Minister from Switzerland and the External Affairs and Finance Ministers in the beginning of August…whatever Switzerland and India can do to steer the current conflict and war towards a peaceful future, it will be very much appreciated by the world,” he said.

According to him, this year, India and Switzerland have huge opportunities to work together on finding solutions to global challenges.

“Switzerland is also a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. If you look at the priorities of Switzerland in the security council and the priorities of the honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi put on the table for G20, some are very much alike.

“Switzerland would like to achieve work on sustainable peace as a non-permanent member of the security council. The prime minister has made it clear that this is not an era for war and he is also talking about one family, one world and one future,” the Ambassador said.

In November, leaders at the G20 summit had called for an immediate end to the Ukraine conflict, holding that “today’s era must not be of war”, a formulation that echoed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin in September.

In his bilateral meeting with Putin in Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on September 16, Modi said, “Today’s era is not of war” and nudged him to end the conflict.

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