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Patil leaves for home

Salzburg (Austria): President Pratibha Patil left here for home today after concluding her two-nation tour of Switzerland and Austria during which she held talks with the top leadership of the two countries and discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation, including on tax-related matters. Patil was seen off at the airport here by her Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer and his wife Margit. City Governor Gabi Burgstaller was also present on the occasion.

During Patil`s September 30 to October 4 visit to Switzerland, the two countries signed an MoU on Financial Dialogue that will pave the way for greater cooperation between their tax authorities, as the issue of black money has become a major political and public talking point back home. The agreement, inked in the presence of Patil and her Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmi-Rey, came close on the heels of the signing of an amending protocol to the Double Taxation (Avoidance) Agreement (DTAA). During the bilateral talks, the Swiss side said that they fully supported India`s associate membership of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research or CERN.

Patil also sought Swiss support to India`s candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. The Swiss side said that they supported UN reforms and considered India`s aspirations to permanent membership as legitimate. In Austrian capital Vienna, Patil addressed the India-Austria Business Forum Meet, where she invited foreign companies to invest in India. During her talks with Fischer, Patil conveyed to him that India was keen to normalise relations with Pakistan provided there are "conducive factors" and that it had also stepped up efforts to enhance ties with China.

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