The recently concluded virtual meet between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin is a step towards forming closer ties with the Nordic countries. In their first-ever virtual meet, both prime ministers asserted the fact that the two countries are natural partners owing to their shared values of democracy, commitment to a rules-based order, freedom of speech, respect for human rights, and a goal for multi-polar world order.
The Finnish PM acknowledged and hailed India’s efforts towards vaccinating the world. Both leaders announced a digital partnership in Future ICT, Mobile Technology, and digital education. While highlighting the milestones achieved by Finland in public healthcare and the use of science and technology in solving social issues, the Finnish PM called for closer ties with India, especially in the field of future mobile technologies, exploring 5G/6G technology cooperation and green technologies.
Affirming the same, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for closer Economic Cooperation with Finland and invited it to increase its investments in India especially in the sectors of education, clean energy, and mobile technology. Currently, there are over 100 Finnish companies operating in India, while 30 Indian companies have their presence in Finland.
PM Narendra Modi also extended an invitation to Finland to join ISA and CDRI, while inviting his counterpart to visit India soon. He agreed with PM Sanna Marin that both countries are natural partners when it comes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Both countries discussed their NDTs for the Paris Peace Agreement and called for increased engagement in COP26, with PM Modi highlighting India’s target of having 450 GW installed capacity in renewable energy.
Joint statements made by both agreed on the need for reforming the WTO and UNSC, with Finland affirming its support for India’s candidature as a permanent UNSC member. Both countries agreed on expanding their partnership in Africa due to its growing importance and contributing to its socio-economic development. The need for rebuilding the global economy in a post-COVID world with sustainable technologies was highlighted by both parties. Both of them discussed the current situation in Myanmar and Afghanistan as well.
The meeting took place a few weeks before the second India-Nordic Summit, which is to be held in Denmark. A closer India-Nordic Partnership comes at the heels of greater engagement between India and the EU, with a joint summit soon to be held in Portugal. UK’s PM Boris Johnson too highlighted the need of having closer ties with India, while highlighting its geopolitical strategic importance. These partnerships are supported by complementary needs and, matching goals.
With a growing presence of Nordic companies in India and the world’s pivot towards the Indo-Pacific, it is only inevitable that Nordic countries would strive towards having closer ties with India.
The first India-Nordic Summit, which was held in 2018 underlined mutual cooperation in areas such as climate change technology, education, improving the quality of life, infrastructure, food processing, and increasing investments in India. With the Swedish PM calling India a ‘Democratic Superpower’, one can only assume that India’s Nordic connect shall run deeper in the future.
This comes at an important point when India has recently released its Arctic policy and amped up its scientific research and exploration of the Arctic. Closer ties with the Nordic countries shall aid India in its scientific explorations, all the while expanding its partnership with the EU.
Diversifying European partnership shall aid in India’s aim of being a USD 5 trillion economy, becoming a global superpower, and achieving Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals.