NEW AGREEMENT: Narendra Modi and Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann
IndIan prIme mInIster holds talks In geneva to share prIorIty over ‘black money’ problem
SWITZERLAND promised on Monday (6) to work with Indian authorities to tackle tax dodgers who stash money in Swiss bank accounts to avoid Indian taxes.
After talks in Geneva with Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann and round-table discussions with Swiss businessmen, prime minister Narendra Modi said the two countries had agreed to make combating tax evasion and “black money” a shared priority.
“We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders. An early start to negotiations on the Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information would be important in this respect,” he said, referring to a portal supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Modi promised in his 2014 election campaign to recover billions of dollars sent to tax havens abroad to avoid income tax, now about 30 per cent in India. Schneider-Ammann said no figure had been put on the amount of “black money” to be recov- ered. Talks would begin later this month, he said.
Modi said Switzerland had also agreed to support its bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which it applied to join last month, having won a waiver in 2008 that accorded it the right to trade in commercial nuclear technology.
Modi tacked on Switzerland and Mexico as extra stops on a five-country tour to seek their sup- port on joining the NSG. He left Switzerland for Washington, where US president Barack Obama is expected to offer his backing also.
Both Switzerland and Mexico have been viewed as sceptical about India’s bid for nuclear legitimacy. They are among countries concerned that India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a step that would require New Delhi to give up its nuclear arsenal.