‘India – Nordic Council Summit: Shared Values, Mutual Prosperity’ co-hosted by India and Sweden in Stockholm on April 17, 2018 was attended by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipilä, Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven. Modi also had separate bilateral meetings with Prime Ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway on the side lines of the India-Nordic Summit. India has substantial economic ties with Nordic countries. Annual India-Nordic trade is about $5.3 billion. The cumulative Nordic FDI into India has been $2.5 billion. At the end of the Summit, India and the Nordic countries issued a Joint Statement:
- The Prime Ministers pledged to deepen cooperation between India and the Nordic countries and focused their discussions on key issues related to global security, economic growth, innovation and climate change.
- They reaffirmed importance of free trade as a catalyst for achieving inclusive growth and realising Sustainable Development Goals.
- They acknowledged that innovation and digital transformation drive growth in an interconnected world, which underpin a growing engagement between India and the Nordic countries.
- Role of the Nordic countries as global innovation leaders was underlined.
- Nordic approach to innovation systems, characterised by a strong collaboration between public sector, private sector and academia, was discussed, and synergies were identified with India’s rich pool of talent and skills.
- Summit emphasised India’s strong commitment to innovation and digital initiatives as key to prosperity and sustainable development, with national flagship programmes such as Make in India, Start-up India, Digital India and Clean India.
- Nordic solutions in clean technologies, maritime solutions, port modernisation, food processing, health and life-sciences and agriculture were mentioned.
- Summit welcomed the Nordic Sustainable Cities Project aimed at supporting the Smart Cities Programme of the Government of India.
- The Prime Ministers noted that the unique strengths of India and Nordic countries offer immense opportunities for trade and investment diversification and mutually beneficial collaboration.
- During the talks, importance of rules-based multilateral trading system as well as open and inclusive international trade for prosperity and growth was underlined.
- Ease of Doing Business practices were emphasised as a priority for both the Nordic countries and India.
- The Prime Ministers acknowledged that terrorism and violent extremism are major challenges for the international community.
- They discussed global security, including cyber security, based on their shared values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and their commitment to uphold rules-based international system.
- They also discussed export control and non-proliferation.
- Nordic countries welcomed India’s application for membership of Nuclear Suppliers’ Group and reaffirmed their commitment to work constructively within the Group with the aim of reaching a positive outcome at the earliest opportunity.
- The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their support for United Nations and Secretary-General’s reform efforts to ensure a UN fit to support Member States to deliver on Agenda 2030 and took note of his proposals to strengthen the UN, including areas of development, peace operations, peace building and conflict prevention.
- Nordic countries and India reaffirmed the need for reform of UN Security Council, including its expansion in both permanent and non-permanent seats to make it more representative, accountable, effective and responsive to the realities of the 21st century.
- Nordic countries agree that India is a strong candidate for a permanent seat in a reformed Security Council expanded with both permanent and non-permanent members.
- The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their full commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development as well as the ambitious implementation of Paris Agreement.
- They agreed to continue efforts to develop cleaner energy systems, renewable energy and fuels, increased energy efficiency and technologies for cleaner energy production.
- The Prime Ministers noted that women’s full and meaningful participation in political, social and economic life is the key to inclusive development and agreed to promote empowerment of women.
- They agreed that a strong partnership can help spur innovations, economic growth, sustainable solutions and mutually beneficial trade and investments.
- The Summit emphasized importance of strong people-to-people contacts through education, culture, labour mobility and tourism – all areas where Nordic countries and India see a continuous increase in both interests and numbers.
MOUs and Agreements signed and exchanged during of the visit of Prime Minister to Stockholm on April 16-17, 2018 are:
- Joint Declaration on India-Sweden Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future between Ministry of Science and Technology of India and the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation
India and Denmark:
- MOU on Cooperation in the field of Sustainable and Smart Urban Development between the Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs of India and the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs of Denmark.
- MOU on Cooperation in the fields of Animal Husbandry and Dairying between Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare of India and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark
- MOU on Food Safety Cooperation between the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration
- MOU on Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Education between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Denmark
India and Iceland:
- MOU on the Establishment of the ICCR Chair for Hindi Language between Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the University of Iceland