“Sweden has many sustainable modern solutions to offer India,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said in Stockholm in a joint press conference with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during first visit by Indian Prime Minister to Sweden on 16-17 April 2018 after three decades. The two Prime Ministers spoke of strengthened cooperation between the two countries on defence and presented a new innovation partnership agreement, for which the Swedish government will assign 50 million kronor to research agency Vinnova to develop Smart Cities in India. The discussions between them were focused on strengthening bilateral ties with special emphasis on building closer economic relations as well as important global and regional issues. Modi also had an audience on April 17, 2018 with His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden who had visited India in 1993 and 2005. Lofven had visited India in February 2016 and participated in the ‘Make in India’ Week in Mumbai with a strong business delegation. And in October 2017, Lofven had also participated in ‘Make in India: Sweden 2017’ event organized in Stockholm. Löfven commented, “They have huge planning and building work in front of them which they want to do in a climate smart way, and in that we have a very clear area of cooperation.”
Prime Ministers met the vibrant Indian community in Sweden that is home to more than 20000 members of Indian diaspora, including around 2000 Indian students studying in various institutions.
- A Joint Declaration on India-Sweden Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future was signed and a Joint Action Plan adopted.
- Both Prime Ministers expressed their commitment to support and strengthen global export control, non-proliferation and disarmament objectives and looked forward to close cooperation in these areas.
- Both Prime Ministers called for greater unity and stronger international partnership to counter terrorism, disrupt terrorist networks and financing, and to prevent violent extremism.
- Both sides agreed to continue security policy dialogue at the level of National Security Advisors.
- Innovation, Investment, Start-ups, Manufacturing etc. were main dimensions of partnership.
- Renewable energy, urban transport, waste management, which are topics related to the quality of life of the people of India had special focus.
- Sweden has been India’s partner for a long time in the defence sector and many new opportunities will be created for our cooperation in defence production.
- Decided to strengthen our security cooperation, especially cyber security cooperation.
- Both Prime Ministers participated in a Round-table meeting with about 30 CEOs of leading Swedish enterprises and addressed the CEOs.
- Encourage Trade and facilitate Investment in both directions, such as Sweden’s investment in India through ‘Invest India’ and Indian investment in Sweden through ‘Business Sweden’.
- Encourage the work of the India-Sweden Business Leaders Round Table (ISBLRT) to further strengthen India-Sweden business cooperation within inter alia smart cities, digitization, skills development and defence, and to move its relations, ideas, partnerships and recommendations forward.
- Encourage the space agencies and other space entities to enhance space cooperation
- Over 170 Swedish companies have invested USD 1.4 billion since 2000.
- Some of the Swedish companies have been present in India for over a century.
- Around 70 Indian companies have established their presence in Sweden.
- India-Sweden annual bilateral trade stands at around USD 1.8 billion.
- Swedish business leaders also held a meeting with Modi, including representatives of Saab who are competing for a fighter jet contract from India worth an estimated 100 billion kronor.