18 Jan 2014

A passage to India – with a focus on cooperation

Amity University faculty and Founder President Dr Ashok K. Chauhan

WTI Managing Director Thomas Cottier has returned from a one-week visit to India. From 12-18 January Professor Cottier took part in high-level discussions in Delhi, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Beginning and ending his visit in Delhi, Prof. Cottier held meetings with senior officials of the Union Government of India responsible for crucial policy decisions and for training of government officials.

These included discussions with BVR Subrahmanyam, Joint Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for economic affairs and Rajneesh Garg, Private Secretary to the President of India – both graduates of the WTI’s Masters Programme in International Law and Economics (MILE). Other meetings included discussions with Rajeev Kher, Special Secretary, Department of Commerce and India’s Commerce Secretary designate and Dr Shyamal Sarkar, Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training.

Prof. Cottier also delivered lectures and held seminars on the future of the multilateral trading system, dispute settlement, innovation, imitation and graduation, and the role of WTO law in legal education at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Jindal Global Law School, the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and swissnex India in Bangalore. At Amity University in Noida, a city adjacent to Delhi, Prof. Cottier gave a keynote address before being awarded an honorary professorship.

“The surge in private universities in India is impressive,” said Prof. Cottier. “We paid a visit to one of the largest private universities, Amity University, and to Jindal Global Law School close to Delhi. We were able to discuss cooperation with the top National Law School of India University in Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. All these institutions expressed a strong interest in cooperation, reflecting an increasing importance of trade policy and law in India.”

The WTI is excited to have the opportunity to organise a joint Summer Academy with the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade later this year.
In Ahmedabad, apart from teaching the WTI Managing Director also had a meeting with local farmers on the use and preservation of traditional practices and was impressed by the work of SRISTI, the leading organisation in supporting and developing traditional knowledge in India.

“I return to Switzerland encouraged and hopeful, impressed by the drive and enthusiasm encountered in this emerging economy and country,” commented Prof. Cottier. “Cooperation with Indian institutions and colleagues is a must for the WTI, and will be most enriching.”

Dinner receptions with MILE alumni and at the Embassy of Switzerland complemented the visit. The visit was organised by Corinne Karlaganis with the help of MILE alumni Pallavi Bajaj, Santanu Mukherjee and Anirudh Shingal.