President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday reached Oslo on the first leg of his five-day visit to Norway and Finland during which a number of agreements on trade, education and earth sciences will be signed.
He was accompanied by Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Pon Radhakrishnan. During the visit, Mukherjee will be crossing the Arctic Circle and will also visit the village of Santa Claus.
The focus of his visit to Norway — he is the first Indian head of state to visit that country — would be work out a mechanism to attract investment in the infrastructure and other areas. At present, only $4 billion of the $850 billion Norwegian Pension Fund flows to India, said Secretary (west), MEA, Navtej Sarna. He said that there is a commitment to raise it to $20 billion to $40 billion. The Norwegian Pension fund, earlier known as ‘Oil fund’, is a result of large state revenues from petroleum activities which resulted in substantial financial assets. Norway is the world’s third largest exporter of hydrocarbons in the world and has huge reserves of oil and gas.
A number of agreements would be signed during the visit, which will cover the fields of education, trade and cooperation among others.
Norway has given unconditional support for India’s candidature in the Arctic Council as an observer.There are 12 non-Arctic countries, which have been admitted as observers to the Arctic Council. India has a station ‘Himadri’, located in the middle of North Pole and Norway.