Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that Sweden has been a strong supporter of the ‘Make in India’ initiative from the beginning as both the countries agreed to deepen their collaboration through a strategic innovation partnership for a ‘win-win’ outcome and strengthen defence and security cooperation.
“Sweden has been a strong supporter of ‘Make in India’ initiative from the beginning. Prime Minister Lofven had participated in our ‘Make in India’ programme in 2016 along with a big business delegation,” PM Modi said while delivering the joint statement with his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven following bilateral talks in Stockholm this afternoon.
As per the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the two leaders had a productive exchange of views on bilateral and regional issues. The two Prime Ministers also interacted with business leaders and talked about trade and business ties.
“I believe that the most important topic in our talks today was how Sweden can have a win-win partnership with India on the opportunities arising out of India’s development. As a result, we have agreed on an innovation partnership and a joint action plan,” said PM Modi.
Modi said innovation, investment, start-ups, manufacturing etc. are the key aspects of cooperation between India and Sweden. “Along with them, we are also giving importance to areas such as renewable energy, urban transport, waste management, that are connected with the quality of life of the people in India,” he added.
PM Modi further announced that both India and Sweden have agreed to strengthen their defence and security cooperation. “A key pillar of our bilateral ties is our defence and security cooperation. In the defence sector, Sweden has been India’s partner for a long time. I have faith that in future also in this sector, particularly in defence production, there will be plenty of opportunities for bilateral cooperation. We have decided to strengthen our cooperation in the security sector, particularly in cybersecurity.”
On his part, Sweden Prime Minister Lofven lauded the Indian government for its strong focus on innovation and termed the initiatives as keys to progress and prosperity for India.
Further speaking on innovation partnership between New Delhi and Stockholm, Lofven said, “Sweden will provide 50 million kronas (approx. Rs 40 crore) for innovation corporation with India for the Smart Cities project and for achieving sustainable development. This will also help to facilitate job creation.”
He lauded India for taking steps for its unprecedented economic transformation in terms of manufacturing and digital development.
A Joint Declaration on Sweden-India Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future said, “The innovation partnership represents a step-change in India-Sweden science and innovation collaboration, underpinning our mutual commitment to drive prosperity and address global challenges such as climate change and sustainable development through innovation.”
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi, who is on his maiden trip to Sweden, called on Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf. They exchanged views on strengthening bilateral cooperation across several sectors. He also undertook a short walk with his Swedish counterpart from Sogerska to Rosenbad.
PM Modi will hold a series of bilateral meetings with the counterparts of other Nordic countries such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway. All the leaders will take part in the first-ever India Nordic summit, being co-hosted by India and Sweden.
On Monday, PM Modi arrived in Sweden on a historic visit, in what was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister after 30 years. Lofven received him at the Stockholm airport as a special gesture. Prime Minister Modi was accorded a ceremonial reception and met with the Indian community in the city.
The prime minister is in Sweden on the first leg of his five-day foreign tour, which will also take him to the UK where he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). He will also have a brief stopover in Berlin, Germany, on April 20 while on his way back home.
(With inputs from agencies)