Underlining the “shared values of freedom and democracy and rules-based order” with Nordic countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the situation in Ukraine with the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland at the second India-Nordic summit in Copenhagen Wednesday.
With the countries prioritising cooperation in the post-Covid situation, Modi highlighted “how India has used IT platforms for effective outreach and monitoring of Covid vaccination in India”. Stressing on the need for a “human-centric multilateral order”, he told the Nordic leaders that it is India’s belief that “such platforms are natural global good”.
After the summit, Modi, in a Twitter post, said, “The India-Nordic Summit will go a long way in boosting India’s ties with the region. Together, there is much that our nations can achieve and contribute to global prosperity and sustainable development.”
Later in the day, he flew to Paris where he met French President Emmanuel Macron. He will be heading home after their bilateral meeting.
In Copenhagen, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra, briefing reporters on the India-Nordic summit, said, “The leaders did exchange views on matters of regional and global interest, that naturally included Ukraine also.” He said the issue of Indo-Pacific too was discussed at the meeting. These came up in the summit and bilateral meetings.
“Nordic countries and India have shared values of freedom and democracy and rules-based order and also share perspectives on various political matters,” he said.
Modi attended the summit with Sanna Marin of Finland, Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, Magdalena Andersson of Sweden, Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland and Mette Frederiksen of Denmark.
Similar to the joint statements with Germany and Denmark, the joint statement said the Nordic Prime Ministers “reiterated their strong condemnation of the unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine by Russian Forces”. A unilateral statement, which expresses one side’s views, in the joint statement is unusual and reflects the divergence in views of the two sides. But there were enough lines to show the convergence.
The joint statement said, “The Prime Ministers expressed their serious concern about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. They unequivocally condemned civilian deaths in Ukraine. They reiterated the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities. They emphasized that the contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states. They discussed the destabilizing effect of the conflict in Ukraine and its broader regional and global implications. Both sides agreed to remain closely engaged on the issue.”
Kwatra said Prime Minister Modi “appreciated the Nordic countries as a reliable partner in the last 75 years of India’s journey of growth and economic development”.
He outlined the areas of cooperation with the Nordic countries, saying it “matches also with India’s developmental priorities” — urban renewal, river cleaning, renewable energy and skill development.
Modi told the leaders that India has not just made vaccines available to over 100 countries, but has also partnered with many nations in the capacity-building of their partners. He said there is a need for a temporary TRIPS waiver for vaccine production globally, with a view to ensure its availability.
On climate, sustainable development and the blue economy, the Prime Minister outlined India’s commitment to sustainable, clean and green growth. “The conversations also clearly brought out the need to focus on climate adaptation and climate resilience,” Kwatra said.
On innovations, the Foreign Secretary said it is a “very strong area of India-Nordic partnership” with focus on healthcare innovation and digital innovation.
The Prime Minister, who had held talks with Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen on Tuesday, held separate meetings with leaders of the other Nordic countries:
* With Finland’s Sanna Marin: “They discussed opportunities to expand cooperation in the fields of new and emerging technologies like AI, quantum computing, future mobile technologies, clean technologies and smart grids,” the MEA said. Modi invited Finnish companies to partner with Indian companies and take advantage of the enormous opportunities that the Indian market presents, particularly in telecom infrastructure and digital transformations.
* With Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway: They discussed the potential to deepen engagement in areas like blue economy, renewable energy, green hydrogen, solar and wind projects, green shipping, fisheries, water management, rainwater harvesting, space cooperation, long-term infrastructure investment, health and culture.
* With Magdalena Andersson of Sweden: They “expressed satisfaction at the progress made by the Lead IT initiative. This was a India-Sweden joint global initiative to set up a Leadership Group on Industry Transition (LeadIT) in September 2019 at the UN Climate Action Summit to help guide the world’s heaviest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting industries towards the low-carbon economy. Its membership has now grown to 35 with 16 countries and 19 companies,” the MEA said. “Both leaders also discussed possibilities of deepening cooperation in areas like innovation, climate technology, climate action, green hydrogen, space, defence, civil aviation, Arctic, polar research, sustainable mining and trade and economic ties.”
* With Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland: The leaders discussed ways to further strengthen economic cooperation, especially in the sectors of geothermal energy, blue economy, Arctic, renewable energy, fisheries, food processing, education including digital universities, and culture. “Geothermal energy, in particular, is an area where Iceland has special expertise, and both sides stressed on collaboration between universities of both countries in this sector,” the MEA said. Modi praised Jakobsdóttir’s personal efforts at promoting gender equality.