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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in the India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm, Sweden on April 17, 2018. Picture: Anne Sjöholm/The Finnish government

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday in Stockholm, during the India-Nordic Summit.

The agenda of their discussions included negotiations on trade relations between Finland and India and on promoting investment and other cooperation.

Currently, India is not listed in the top 20 of trade partners with the Nordic countries. The business is, however, increasing. According to Sipilä, Finland’s exports to India have grown over the past few years. “Prime Minister Modi and I noted that opportunities for cooperation between our two countries exist especially in sectors such as energy, satellites and education. We have agreed to deepen cooperation in these fields and will hold further negotiations on concrete projects at the level of public officials,” Sipilä said. “Overall, the renewable energy sector is in the interest of Indians. They are very dependable on oil and coal in their energy production right now, and the need for more energy is growing steadily,” he added.

According to the Global Warming Policy Forum, India has decided to cut its planned nuclear power plant construction by two-thirds. This will further expand the country’s use of coal for electrical power generation. India is the world’s third biggest coal importer (200M tonnes in 2017) after China and Japan.

India is also running one of the most ambitious renewable capacity expansion programs in the world. By 2022, the country aims to double its wind power capacity and increase its solar power by 15 fold. Finland has the second-highest share of renewble energy in Europe, just after Sweden.

Sipilä said that he first met Prime Minister Modi in 2016 during Finland’s trade mission to India. “India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it is important for Finland to continue fostering good economic relations with India. There are many opportunities for cooperation.”

“India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it is important for Finland to continue fostering good economic relations with India.”

Picture: Anne Sjöholm/The Finnish government

In the meeting, Prime Minister Sipilä also raised the importance of free trade. Negotiations on free trade and investment protection agreements are on-going between the EU and India. Sipilä also stressed the importance of international cooperation in regard to climate change and counter-terrorism.

The initiative for the India-Nordic Summit of the prime ministers of the Nordic countries and India was made by India. The premiers of all five Nordic countries attended in the summit.

In the summit, Prime Minister Sipilä held an introductory presentation on the impact of innovations, digitalization and artificial intelligence on trade and commerce, jobs and economic growth worldwide.

During Prime Minister Modi‘s premiership, India’s infrastructure, economy and society have been modernized. Economic growth in India is forecast to continue to at a rate of over 7 percent this and next year.

Last year, the value of goods exports from Finland to India amounted to EUR 532 million and the value of imports was EUR 340 million.

Finland’s main export products are machinery and equipment as well as paper and cardboard. In 2017, Finland’s services exports totaled 747 million euros and services imports amounted to 534 million euros.

Sources: The government, STT