The Swiss India Business Forum (SIBF) under the direction of Dr. Pankaj Agarwal, Conference Chairman and Member of the SIBF Board, organized the first Swiss SIREN Symposium at the SwissInnovationPark, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland on 19-20 November, 2015.
Members of the Swiss Indian Chamber of Commerce (SICC) Board and various other leading organizations supported this promotional event to bring India and Switzerland together in a sector which is not only key to their national energy strategies but also extremely important from the climate change point of view.
The Symposium was also addressed by Dr. Claude Begle, Member of the Swiss Parliament and former member of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, whose career has spanned 14 different countries and many sectors.
Dr. Claude Begle started his career in India and has worked in 14 different countries. His presence was warmly welcomed as was his address. Dr. Begle in addressing the Symposium reminded the participants that their work was extremely important for the future. Stating that Switzerland had very few natural resources and its strength lay in remaining open and building win-win partnerships - he stressed that India should be one of Switzerland’s win-win partnerships. He recalled that the Chairman of the ECB had stated that the US was ahead ofEurope because of its induction of talented Indians. Switzerland needed to build those bridges too. It was important for the political agenda to be focussed on the energy and the environment and redouble efforts towards this goal. It was important to increase resources available for tackling environmental and emissions issues. He stated that Switzerland had developed many interesting technologies with the focus on energy efficiency since it had already reached the goal of energy for all. He underlined the cooperation between the private sector and universities in launching innovative ideas through the Swiss Centres for Excellence.
He concluded by stating that he had a lot of sympathy for India as he started his career in Indiaand he loved its people. He was impressed with the openness of society, diversity of opinion, the freedom of the Press, and the progress of the private sector. He recounted his experience in running an IT incubator in Bangalore and the talented Indians he had met there. He had been impressed by the creativity of Indians.
He stressed the need for India and Switzerland to work together and pool our talent for smarter outcomes. He said that Switzerland was good at generating innovation and ideas and Indians were good at implementation and the two were complementary. He urged that we leapfrog together to the next technological level. He suggested that we should have joint incubators and joint development centres. He stated that Switzerland had greater expertise in dams, hydropower capacity, capital intensive plants, smart grids, energy storage, waste management and the circular economy. He urged that we should join forces at the R&D and entrepreneur level - marrying the strengths of the two countries in an area important for mankind.
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