Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Switzerland on Monday on the third leg of his ongoing five-nation tour.

Upon his arrival in Geneva, Prime Minister Modi said that he was eager to discuss India’s NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) membership bid with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann. The visiting PM also said that it would be important for India to strengthen bilateral and multilateral co-operation with the Central European country. Modi described Switzerland as India’s key economic partner in Europe, saying: “I will also meet prominent businesspersons. Our agenda will be to expand economic and investment ties. I will meet Indian scientists working at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research). India takes pride in their contribution to exploring new frontiers of science in the service of humanity.”

In New Delhi, senior spokesperson of the Indian External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup told the media that PM Modi would seek Bern’s support for India’s membership of the 48-member Group, as Switzerland is a key member of the elite grouping. As Modi is visiting Switzerland ahead of his trip to the US and Mexico, it will be easier for him to get Mexico’s support for India’s NSG membership bid, if he manages to earn Switzerland’s trust.

Prime Minister Modi reached Switzerland from Doha, where senior officials of India and Qatar signed pacts on infrastructure investment in the presence of visiting Indian PM and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Apart from strengthening trade ties, India and Qatar also agreed to work together to combat global terror financing.

After the Modi-Sheikh Tamim talks in the Qatari capital on Sunday, New Delhi and Doha issued a joint statement, saying: “The two leaders highlighted the need to isolate the sponsors and supporters of terrorism and agreed that urgent action against all such entities, which support terrorism and use it as an instrument of policy, must be taken.” The two sides also stressed on the need to “disrupt terrorist movements, stopping all sources for financing of terrorism and countering terrorist propaganda through Internet”.

According to the statement, the Emir of Qatar and his Indian guest further exchanged views on the current political and security situation in West Asia and South Asia and expressed “grave” concern over the situation in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. They reiterated the importance of peaceful resolution of these issues through dialogue and political negotiations.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]