Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey told Hindustan Times on Wednesday that her country was concerned about the ripple effects of instability in Pakistan.
She said the situation in India’s neighbourhood came up for review during her talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. [See interview: Download video]
The Swiss President, on her first visit to India, made it plain that there could be consequences to face even in far corners of the globe as a result of instability in one country. “In today’s world, even if you are in a faraway country, you can have instability and effects in Switzerland in the form of migration, in the form of difficulties for our export industries.”
She said: “Switzerland is very open in the economic field…. For us it’s very important that the region remains stable.”
She seemed pleased that Singh had agreed to send a nuclear expert to Switzerland to explain the nuances of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
The deal is in a limbo, but the Indian Prime Minister was still explaining its intricacies to foreign dignitaries, it emerged. The Swiss President did not depart from her country’s non-committal stand on the nuclear deal, pointing out that it was committed to non-proliferation.
Calmy-Rey sought to expand the ambit of economic relationship with India. She also supported the expansion of the United Nations Security Council, but she stopped short of saying anything on India’s UN candidature.
The Swiss President felt that the question of human rights was becoming a key political issue around the world. “We know that if human rights are not respected then you have the increasing risk of instability. From the humanitarian point of view, it’s not acceptable that human rights are violated.”
She said it was possible to combat terrorism and yet respect civil rights. Calmy-Rey, who is also her country’s foreign minister, said Switzerland had done a lot to check the flow of dirty money used in financing terror groups. Switzerland, as a banking hub, is the only country to have returned slush money.