Ambassador of Luxembourg to India Sam Schreiner cleared the Luxembourg Bar exam in 2000, after which he served as Legal Counsel at Cargolux Airlines International in 2000- 01. From 2001 to 2008, he served as Diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg – Department of International Economic Relations. His subsequent postings were as Deputy Head of Mission in Thailand and Senegal. Since 2014, he has been posted in India as Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to India with residence in New Delhi, followed by additional charge for Nepal since 2016. In this interview to The Statesman, he talks about various avenues of bio-lateral cooperation between India and his country.

Excerpts:

How do you look at India-Luxembourg relations and cooperation between the two countries at international fora?

Despite the difference in the size of our countries, Luxembourg and India enjoy friendly relations in numerous domains. Our bilateral trade is seeing a yearly upward trend; each year more people from India visit Luxembourg and vice-versa. At present, Luxembourg is India’s 14th largest investor. Sharing numerous values, we cooperate closely on different multilateral international fora such as the United Nations.

There are many Indian companies listed at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.What really attracts them?

They are attracted by the unique knowhow and expertise of Luxembourg’s stock exchange, which is a world leader for international listings, including masala bonds and green bonds. For the latter, the Stock Exchange just created the Luxembourg Green Exchange, a dedicated platform for green, social and sustainable securities. Entry is restricted to issuers that provide full disclosure and fulfil their reporting obligations, and, in doing so, ensure quality issuance for investors. In India, there seems to be a huge demand for green projects. More information on: https://www.bourse.lu/lgx

India’s cooperation with Luxembourg in the civil aviation sector has also been increasing. Is there any fresh development on this front?

Cargolux, one of the world’s largest all-cargo airlines, presently links its global hub, at Luxembourg airport, twice a week to Mumbai thus helping Indian exporters of high value goods reach their global customers in a speedy and efficient way. Cargolux continuously evaluates opportunities and challenges at other Indian airports.

Is it true that Luxembourg is keen to enter the automobile market in India in a big way?

Luxembourg has a vibrant automotive industry specialised in the production of different parts, but is for the moment focused on the European automobile market.

What is the total number of India diaspora in Luxembourg?

The Indian diaspora in Luxembourg, especially in the finance and tech sectors, is highly dynamic and expanding rapidly. I believe at present the number stands at about 3,000 people.

Luxembourg is a member of the European Union. Why has the EU not been able to ink a Free Trade Agreement with India despite 10 years of negotiations?

That’s a question to be answered by the negotiators from both sides, the EU Commission and the Indian Ministry of Commerce. Generally speaking, for Luxembourg an FTA concluded by the EU with any third country must be ambitious, balanced and comprehensive.

Does Luxembourg support India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in the permanent category?

Luxembourg is committed to the reform process of the UNSC to make it more inclusive and adapted to the 21st century. In 2015-16, under the chairmanship of Luxembourg’s Permanent Representative to the UN, the Intergovernmental Negotiation on Security Council Reform made some important progress.

What is being done by India and Luxembourg to further strengthen/promote people to people contacts between their two nations?

Next year, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Luxembourg. At the moment, we are exploring how best to celebrate this occasion.

On a day-to-day basis, my Embassy actively promotes Luxembourg as a high-end destination for discerning travellers who enjoy unspoiled nature and clean air, a cosmopolitan society and a very varied gastronomy.

Thanks to our cooperation with VFS, visa applications for Luxembourg can be submitted in 16 major Indian cities. We strive to achieve a very quick turnaround time for any visa application.

The University of Luxembourg has agreements with five top-level Indian institutes and universities, resulting in a dynamic exchange pattern between Master’s and PhD students between both countries. Our honorary consul in three Indian cities, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, work intensively in order to increase Luxembourg’s visibility and activities in India.