India Wants Norway and Finland to double investments

By Sarkaritel October 17, 2014 15:01

India Wants Norway and Finland to double investments

Invite to particpate in Make in India program

By TN Ashok / Diplomatic Editor

On Board Air Force One (Presidential Plane), October 17: India’s President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee today described his visit to Nordic countries – Kingdom of Norway and Republic of Finland– as an exercise to attract greater investments even as the country sought enhanced cooperation in the fields of trade and investment and education.

“ I urged that India be seen as an attractive investment destination by both these countries, including by the Norwegian sovereign Global Pension Fund.  Both Norway and Finland recognized that there was great potential to enhance our economic and commercial engagements, “ The President told newsmen on board Air Force once while flying back to India after his successful trip to the Nordic countries.

The Norwegian Pension Fund is the biggest of its kind in Europe with whopping corpus of some
US $ 285 billion. India wants atleast US $ 15 billion invested in welfare projects in the country.

The President said that both countries importantly, conveyed that they are looking beyond Europe for maing investments. Norway in 2009 and Finland in 2013 have, in fact, brought out Action Plans to strategize their respective relationships with India, he said.

In Finland, my suggestion that we should try and double the current level of our bilateral trade from Euro 1 billion to Euro 2 billion over the next three years was agreed to immediately. The Finnish leadership mentioned that their companies are keenly pursuing opportunities to invest in India, he said adding that the Norwegian side expressed keenness to conclude negotiations of EFTA.  Their Government has decided to open a Consulate General in Mumbai.

While stressing that the abiding theme of his visit to both countries was to expand cooperation in education, research, innovation, trade and investment, the Indian President said that  six governmental agreements were concluded in Norway for cooperation in the fields of earth sciences, culture, scientific research, medicine and defence, as well as consular matters. Similarly, in Finland, we concluded four governmental agreements in the fields of collaboration and research in renewable energy, bio-technology, civil nuclear research and meteorological issues.

The academic delegation accompanying the President also established institutional tie-ups with Norwegian and Finnish Universities. The President said that he was happy that eight MoUs between educational institutions were signed during the visit in Norway and seventeen in Finland with a view to promoting faculty, student and research exchanges.

“ I also interacted via a video-link with our scientists currently undertaking projects at India’s Research Station in the Arctic, ‘Himadri’ as well as with our researchers at the Svalbard University Centre,” Mr Mukherjee said.

This was the first Head of State visit ever from India to Norway. King Harald V and Prime Minister Erna Solberg both expressed deep appreciation for the Indian President’s visit and termed it historic.

“ My delegation and I were overwhelmed by the warmth of the reception and hospitality extended to us. We held extensive discussions on bilateral as well as regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern. I met the President of the Storting – the Norwegian Parliament, their Minister of Trade and Industry, the Minister of Education and Research as well as the Mayor of Oslo, “ the Indian president noted.

“  We found, across the board, a deep-seated desire for close cooperation between India and Norway. We are satisfied by the Norwegian government’s expressed desire to take our bilateral relationship to still higher levels of engagement and deepen and diversify collaboration. I was delighted with the happy coincidence of my visit closely following the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to an Indian, Shri Kailash Satyarthi”, the president observed.

President Mukherjee said that in his discussions with Prime Minister Erna Solberg, “ we agreed that scope for further collaboration existed in the fields of research and development, education, science and technology, innovation, clean technologies and renewable energy as well as in polar research. Prime Minister Solberg of Norway congratulated India for our achievements and progress made in reduction of poverty, maternal health and child mortality under the MDGs. She congratulated us on achieving polio-free status. We agreed that focus should not be lost on the Sustainable Development Goals, Mr Mukherjee said.

In Finland, we were received warmly by the President and the Government of Finland. We met the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the Mayors of Helsinki and Rovaniemi as well as the Speaker and Members of the Finnish Parliament. I was privileged to receive the Medal of Honour of the City of Helsinki on behalf of the people of India as a symbol of friendship between India and Finland, the President said.

President Mukherjee pointed out that he had extensive discussions on bilateral, multilateral and global issues with the Finnish leadership. “ We agreed that there were a number of commonalities in our worldview. We exchanged views on issues like the situation in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan and the BRICs Bank. We also discussed the need to cooperate against terrorism, as terrorism knows no borders, “ he said.

This visit provided an opportunity to discuss our cooperation in the Arctic and in Polar and glacial research in both Norway and Finland, which are members of the Arctic Council. In both the countries, we noted our extensive and wide-ranging cooperation across several sectors, including Science and Technology, Renewable Energy, Maritime issues, Hydrocarbons, Education and Research as well as Environment. India’s leadership and expertise in the IT sector was acknowledged, the President said.

President Mukherjee said that in Norway and Finland, he took the opportunity to brief the leadership on the economic situation in India as well as about recent policy initiatives of the new government such as the “Make in India” campaign.

India announced that Norway is on the list of countries to which Tourist Visa on Arrival facility will soon be extended. This was received with much satisfaction by the Norwegians.

The Social Security Agreement is also now ready for implementation which will help our nationals in matters related to immigration and work.

The President said he briefed the Norwegian and the Finnish side about India’s efforts for full membership of the four export control regimes and stressed our impeccable record on non-proliferation. “We sought their support in this regard”, he said.

“We also sought their continued support in our endeavour for reforms in the UN Security Council to reflect the realities of the contemporary world and for India’s candidature’s for a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council. Support for India was reiterated by both countries”, the president said.

President Mukherjee met with a sizeable Indian community and addressed the business community in both countries. Several commercial agreements were concluded on the side-lines of his visit between business representatives of the two sides.

President Mukherjee extended invitations to the King and the Prime Minister of Norway as well as the President and the Prime Minister of Finland to visit India to maintain regularity of high level visits and provide continued momentum to the relationship.

By Sarkaritel October 17, 2014 15:01