GP Short Notes

GP Short Notes # 634, 8 May 2022

India-Nordic Summit 2022: Focus on building mobility, blue economy and SDGs
Padmashree Anandhan

What happened?
On 4 May, the prime minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, organised the second India-Nordic Summit in Copenhagen, hosting the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, and other leaders of Nordic countries. A joint statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs read: "During the Summit, the Prime Ministers pledged to continue to deepen cooperation between the Nordic countries and India and focused their discussions on key issues related to international peace and security, including the conflict in Ukraine, multilateral cooperation, green transition and climate change, the blue economy, innovation and digitalisation. The Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of free trade as a driver for achieving inclusive growth and realising the Sustainable Development Goals."

What is the background?
First, the India-Nordic relations. Of the five Nordic countries, relations between Norway and India date to 1947. Trade, technology, climate, and global security have been the main venues of cooperation. The Nordic countries, despite their size, are the wealthiest, most integrated and influencers in the global forum. Until now, the total trade between India and the Nordic until now has amounted to USD 13 billion, which has progressed through the EU's FTA. Sweden ranks first in trade with India, followed by Finland, Denmark, and Norway. Besides, there is intense collaboration on climate change, where the Nordic stands front and global security, where India's application to Nuclear Supplier Group membership was appreciated. Other areas such as addressing extremism, sharing human values and aspects of cyber security have served as bridges for good relations.

Second, the focus of the 2022 summit. The key issues discussed include boosting multilateralism and promoting international cooperation to address global challenges arising from the Ukraine war and addressing climate change by protecting the environment in line with the Global Biodiversity Framework and the SDGs. They also agreed on collaborations in bringing sustainability in clean water, air, biodiversity and wildlife. Another common sector between the countries was the Oceans. Both India and Nordic discussed transforming the shipping industry towards low carbon and agreed to increase investments in "sustainable ocean industries." Apart from these, ensuring UNEA 5.2 decision to end usage of plastics and digitalisation to help both address global issues.

Third, the Nordic interest in India. The Nordic countries lookup for India because of the market access and India's flagship schemes such as "Make in India, Smart Cities Mission, Start-up India, Clean Ganga." Such activities interest the Nordic in engaging and in exchanging expertise. Apart from trade, the Nordic countries are keen to cooperate in the energy sector, vaccine production and launch a trade and technology council to enhance the connectivity.

What does it mean?
First, the summit outcomes. The discussions were held on various fronts covering the SDGs, blue economy and more partnerships towards green transition, digital India and cultural exchange. On the agreements signed, the focus remains on meeting the gaps in mobility, shipping, waterways, trade, environment, education and start-ups, which serve as a restart to the investments. Other collaborations are likely to conclude on the following: engaging Norway in India's Arctic Policy, refocusing on the Joint Action Plan with Sweden, renewable energies and fisheries with Iceland, and increasing the investments in India-Finland digital partnerships.

Second, new areas. The spotlight has shifted from improving trade relations to boosting connectivity, and transit. More focus is now on peace and security, vaccine development, blue economy and sustainable goals to strengthen the cooperation. The focus is not only in terms of economy and climate change but also towards human security and maritime. One could see a broadbasing of the relations between India and the Nordic.

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