President to visit Switzerland, Austria


New Delhi : President Pratibha Patil will visit Switzerland and Austria from Sep 30 to Oct 7 in a trip aimed at enhancing bilateral relations with the two European nations.

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Patil will be in Switzerland from Sep 30 to Oct 4 at the invitation of President Micheline Calmy-Rey and in Austria from Oct 4 to Oct 7 at the invitation of President Heinz Fischer.

Swiss President Calmy-Rey had paid a visit to India in November 2007. Austrian President Fischer had come to India in February 2005, the first ever visit by an Austrian head of state to India.

In Switzerland, Patil will have wide-ranging discussions with the Swiss president and other members of the Federal Council (Swiss Cabinet), a ministry of external affairs release said here Friday.

“She will unveil the bust of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore at the University of Lausanne Oct 4 and witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding to set up a ‘Tagore Chair’ on Indian studies between the university and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations,” the release said.

In Austria, her engagements include delegation-level discussions with Fischer and meetings with Chancellor Werner Faymann and Speaker of Parliament Barbara Prammer.

An Indian business delegation is accompanying Patil.

“She and her counterpart would be addressing a joint business forum in both Switzerland and Austria. In both countries, she would be meeting with the Indian community,” the release said.