New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven on Friday held wide ranging discussions during a virtual summit, reaffirming their strong commitment to work for multilateralism, rules-based international order, counter terrorism, peace and security.
This was the fifth interaction between the two leaders since 2015. Prime Minister Modi had visited Stockholm in April, 2018 for the First India Nordic Summit. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven had earlier visited India in February, 2016 for the special “Make in India” week. Earlier, the two leaders had met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, 2015. In April, 2020, the two Prime Ministers had a telephonic conversation to discuss the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In high level exchange of visits, President Pranab Mukherjee had visited Sweden in 2015 and the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia had visited India in December 2019.
The regular high-level interactions between the two countries reflects the strong commitment on both sides for deepening the multi-faceted partnership. During the virtual summit, both leaders underlined that the longstanding close relations between India and Sweden are based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, pluralism, equality, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights.
The two leaders noted that Indo-Swedish partnership is rooted in common values; intensifying collaboration in Innovation, Clean Technologies, trade and Investment linkages; and cooperation in meeting global challenges like climate change.
Prime Minister Modi expressed concern at the violent attack in Sweden on March 3 and wished speedy recovery to the victims.
Prime Minister Löfven announced the decision of Sweden to join the International Solar Alliance. Welcoming the decision, Prime Minister Modi stated that Sweden’s expertise and experience in clean and renewable technologies would contribute significantly to the Solar Alliance and collective efforts to meet the challenge of Climate Change.
The two leaders welcomed the creation of a Sweden-India Health Hub at AIIMS-Jodhpur. They also welcomed the proposed MoUs on Aviation Knowledge Exchange and Technical Transfer Programme as well as Cooperation between financial services regulators to enhance cross-border participation and promote knowledge sharing.
They welcomed the progress made in joint research and industrial collaborations in areas including life sciences and healthcare, circular economy, waste to wealth, water, smart cities, smart grids, e-mobility, and Artificial Intelligence among others that provide sustainable development solutions.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed the steadily increasing number of Swedish companies in India that are not just manufacturing but also setting up R&D centres which is a clear reflection of the growing Ease of Doing Business and Innovation in India.
The two Prime Ministers expressed gratitude for the front line and healthcare workers across the world who have displayed indomitable courage. They appreciated the remarkable efforts by researchers and entrepreneurs who have joined hands with governments to meet the challenge by producing vaccines in record time. They stressed the need for vaccine equity by providing urgent and affordable access to vaccines across all nations.
The leaders also discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest. Both sides welcomed the growing cooperation under the framework of India-EU and India-Nordic engagements.
The Virtual Summit carried forward the momentum in the multifaceted and forward-looking India-Sweden ties. The two leaders expressed satisfaction and confidence that the areas of cooperation under the India-Sweden partnership will continue to deepen and gain further strength, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, said.
The two leaders also agreed to revive dialogue at the level of National Security Advisor (NSA) and discussed cooperation between the two National Security Council Secretariats. They agreed to meet again during the next India-Nordic Summit to be held later this year.