Trade Ministers Skinnari and Vestre: India and the Nordics as the powerhouse of the green transition and digitalisation
Over the last decades Nordic countries have been pioneering green technologies. Together, the Nordics and India can power the green transition the world needs.
The thought of the Nordic countries might evoke different things to an Indian. Snow, fjords, lakes, and northern lights are definitely things we have plenty of. Over the last decades, we have also been at the forefront of developing new green technologies and solutions such as hydrogen, offshore wind, batteries and carbon capture and storage. Solutions that are essential for the world to succeed in the green transition it desperately needs.
The Nordics have succeeded in building stable, secure welfare-based societies that to a large extent manage to meet the needs and wishes of their inhabitants.
The most important reason for that is that Nordic countries share a set of core values that also underpin our regional cooperation and bind us together. We are all open, liberal societies where there is a high degree of trust – both within and between our countries, and we have well-functioning institutions and a strong tradition of cooperation.
However, the Nordic countries alone cannot deliver the green transition the world requires. In this endeavor, India is one of our most important partners. Together, the Nordics and India can deliver key technologies and solutions to stop climate change and boost green growth.
At the Nordic-India Summit held in Copenhagen in May 2022, the five Nordic Prime Ministers and Prime Minister Modi agreed to intensify cooperation on digitalisation, renewable energy, maritime industries, and the circular economy. Prime Minister Modi expressed an interest in joint Nordic solutions that can support India’s green transition. It was very much with this in mind that we, the trade ministers of Norway and Finland, just recently visited India together. During our visit, we showcased the added value that our partnership can bring to India and learned from the innovations and digital solutions being developed in India.
We were joined by a delegation of companies that are leaders within sectors such as clean energy, circular economy, digitalisation, tourism, and the maritime sector. They have great ambitions for increased collaboration with India.
Our most valued and renowned businesses are already operating in India and have made substantial investments. Our business community in India is also growing. There are now 240 Norwegian and Finnish companies in India.
The past year has seen a significant rise in trade and investments between Finland and India, and India has grown to become a priority country for Finland. A great illustration of this is that Finland opened last fall a new Consulate General in Mumbai, which was officially inaugurated during our visit. This further increases the number of Nordic representations in India’s commercial capital and will contribute to strengthening Indo-Finnish ties. Several Indian companies are looking towards Finland for its expertise in areas of technology and innovation, sustainability, digitalisation, carbon neutrality and more. An increasing number of Indian students, researchers, and experts have been moving to Finland as well. Finnish companies such as Nokia and Fortum see India as their largest growth market now and have some of their most significant investments in India.
Trade between Norway and India has doubled in the last three years. The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund is likely one of India’s largest single foreign investors (around USD 17.6 billion). The Norwegian government has also recently established a new Climate Investment Fund for investments in renewables abroad, and India has been defined as a focus-country. Almost 200 million USD has been invested so far in India through the Fund, and the number of investments is increasing rapidly.
However, there is still significant untapped potential for trade and further collaboration. India is a rapidly developing giant and a vast market with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We see great and complementary opportunities for both Finnish and Norwegian companies to further enhance their ties with Indian partners.
Looking ahead, finalizing the ongoing negotiations on mutually beneficial free trade and investments agreements with India is a priority for us, and we are convinced that a swift conclusion aiming at fair, equitable and balanced agreements is possible.
As India takes rapid strides into a green, digital, and innovative future, Nordic countries like Finland and Norway stand ready to share experiences and be part of India’s transition. Technologies and innovations that show successful and are scaled-up in India can easily be transferred to other parts of the world. Together, the Nordics and India can be the powerhouse of the green transition globally.
Jan Christian Vestre, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry
Ville Skinnari, Finnish Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade