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Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 10:26 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 1:36 PM (IST)

Trade and climate change key agenda for India-Nordic Summit

Iceland supports India for UNSC seat
Trade and climate change key agenda for India-Nordic Summit
PM Narendra Modi arrives at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 16, 2018. AFP

Smita Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17

India and Sweden will co-host the first ever India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm on Tuesday. Narendra Modi will be at the summit with Prime Ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Innovation, jobs, trade, security, green technology, climate change and women empowerment are expected to dominate the discussions.

Modi will also hold separate bilateral meetings with the Nordic PMs. Iceland’s Ambassador to India Thorir Ibsen told The Tribune exclusively, “There has always been a good political, trade and investment relations between Nordic countries and India, but these relations need to be deepened. Lots of opportunities are there in areas of innovation, digital transformation and generating growth and jobs by increasing trade.” 

The small Nordic countries with an annual collective trade of merely 5.3 billion USD with India want to expedite FTA (Free Trade Agreement) talks to enhance commerce. “The main stumbling block in our commercial relations is the absence of FTA. Small countries, like ours, want to make sure that trade is based on rules that are transparent and predictable,” said Ibsen.

As strong supporters of the Paris Agreement, Climate Change is an important area of discussions at the summit. One of the earliest supporters for India’s entry into an expanded Security Council, the envoy expressed his disappointment at the resistance to reforms from sections.

“We are of the view that the Security Council must reflect the current historical realities. Our position vis-a-vis India is based both on friendship because we trust India and also in recognition that in a changed world India should be at the table,” said Ibsen.

Iceland that faced a major financial and banking crisis triggering off the 2008 economic recession feels India can learn from its experiences. Asked about the ongoing scams involving Indian banks, Ibsen said, “Accept advice from abroad. We had a national crisis, we accepted the advice of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) because we realised that we needed to have an external view on what went wrong.”

“Make those responsible accountable,” added Ibsen to the question of major bank defaulters on the run.

As the biggest producer of geothermal energy in the world, 90 per cent of Iceland’s energy needs are drawn through renewables. Iceland hopes that it can share its expertise in developing environment-friendly technology with India.

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