Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his official visit to Sweden on April 16th and 17th. He was received by Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven himself at the airport.
The two leaders discussed the need for productive bilateral exchange and signed the Joint Innovation Partnership and also announced the Joint Action Plan. The Joint Action Plan aims at promoting bilateral cooperation through innovation, trade, smart city projects, transportation, sustainable & renewable energy, defence, space, and science.
The Joint Action Plan also aims at developing the Indo-Swedish defense dialogue on defense cooperation. Both the prime ministers agreed to hold defense seminars in the coming year along with the India-Sweden Business Leaders Round Table conference.
Agreeing to cooperate and support each other’s cause in the United Nations, both the Prime Ministers venture their deep commitment to strengthening nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Apart from signing the MoUs and the Joint Action Plan, the two leaders called for a stronger partnership between India and Sweden to combat regional threats and global terrorism. Both Modi and Lofven promised to counter terrorism and build a stronger partnership to disrupt terrorist financing networks. They called for an early finalization of the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), to ensure that terrorism around the world can also be tackled through a global legal framework and international law.
History of Political Relations –
Political Relations between the two countries goes back to all the way since1957 when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited Sweden. This was followed by the visitation of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for attending the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in March 1986 and January 1988. The first-ever State Visit by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, was in 2015. This was followed by the visit of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to India in 2016
Economic and Commercial Relations between the two countries –
During the visit of the President of India to Sweden in 2015, both sides had agreed to reach the ambitious total trade target of US $5 billion by 2018. Though the bilateral trade fell to US $1.9 billion in 2016-17, as compared to about US $2.17 billion in 2015-16, Swedish investments and other economic activities in India were on the rise.
Cultural and Educational Relations –
Indian music, dance, art, literature, films and cuisine are widely appreciated in Sweden. In the absence of a Cultural Exchange Agreement between the two countries, cultural ties are promoted mainly by local associations and by the Embassy with the support of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations. The establishments of Chairs on India Studies from time to time at major Swedish Universities – Lund (now discontinued), Gothenburg and Uppsala – have given an impetus to the academic interest in India. Several Swedish universities have established links with Indian educational institutions and have regularly been sending students to India for different programs. Many Indian students study in Swedish Universities. However, the number has 5 declined after fees were introduced for non-EU foreign students in 2011.
Benefits of India –
The Ambassador said “We signed a partnership agreement. We will share our experiences. It is not only Sweden, which will present its ideas. We will learn from India as well. For example, India is planning to build 100 new smart cities. I think what we can offer ideas and technology. How you do it in practice that is the challenge. For example, there are areas such as water treatment and how to organise public transport. There are many technologies that you can develop and combine sustainability and economic viability.”
On the sidelines of the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met with His Majesty King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf.