India-Switzerland relations an example in today’s era of war: Ambassador Ralf Heckner

Peaceful and friendly relations like the one between Switzerland and India are the way to go, especially in today’s era of war, Swiss Ambassador Ralf Heckner said at the ‘SwitzerlandIndia in Bloom’ event here marking the 75 years of friendship treaty between the two countries.

The event, held at the Embassy of Switzerland on Friday, commemorated this historic milestone through a lot of symbolism created through floral artwork.

“Seventy-five years back India and Switzerland signed a friendship treaty and India had chosen Switzerland as the first country to sign the friendship treaty with after Independence.”

“So we are celebrating today friendship and peace. Those are the two words that we find in that treaty, and especially today in an era of war… peaceful and friendly relations like the one between Switzerland and India are definitely the way to go,” the Ambassador told PTI.

Switzerland and India signed the “Treaty of Friendship and Establishment” on August 14, 1948. This was the first-of-its-kind, and one of the very first bilateral agreements concluded by the newly independent India.

The highlight of the evening was the floral art work by renowned Swiss artist Philipp von Arx, who along with Indian floral artists, created floating flower clouds over the Embassy building and garden.

The fusion of traditional bamboo craftsmanship and artistic floral designs transcended boundaries, symbolising the shared values of festivity, opulence, and sustainability.

At least 30,000 marigold, 9,000 dianthus and 320 heliconia and more — sourced from different regions across India — were used to put up this one-of-a-kind show depicting an interplay of vibrant colours and soothing greens, nature and technology, and light and shadow.

“Flowers have a language which everyone all over the world understands… The Swiss embassy here has a very strong symmetrical architecture and we broke this rule to create the free-style clouds. Every cloud has other shape, every cloud has other flowers inside and especially the flowers have water connection and they bring rain, like flower rain to the earth,” said Arx, whose family has been in the flower business for over 200 years.

Besides giving a dramatic effect to the almost 20 such floral cloud installations, the mist dripping from the flowers was also used to protect them from withering away and sustain longer.

The flowers used during the event will be recycled to produce incense sticks by Kanpur-based social enterprise HelpUsGreen.

The Indian floral artists who took part in the collaboration included Shreeram Kulkarni, Adarsh Suresh and space designer Sagar Singh.