Home › Visit of H.E. Mr Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden, to India from 12-14 February 2016
Visit of H.E. Mr Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden,
A growing Economic Partnership
Prime Minister Modi welcomed the high-level business delegation accompanying Prime Minister Lofven. Both Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the upward trend in bilateral trade and investments. Prime Minister Lofven welcomed the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction that Swedish companies had been Making in India for many decades and had created employment opportunities directly and indirectly for approximately 1.2 million people. They agreed that the ‘Make in India’ initiative had improved conditions for these companies to expand and deepen their investments. Prime Minister Lofven welcomed the Indian government’s efforts to improve the Ease of Doing Business. The leaders noted with satisfaction the favourable result of the recent Sweden Business Climate Survey, where 80 % of Swedish companies in India shared their intent to invest further in the coming years. The two Prime Ministers committed to a continued dialogue within the framework of the Joint Commission to enhance the environment for doing business in their respective countries and further facilitate and promote bilateral economic cooperation. Both Prime Ministers supported a stronger business-to-business dialogue between the two countries and welcomed the creation of an India-Sweden Business Leaders' Round Table. The two governments underlined the particular importance of information technology and digital industries in both countries as a key driver of growth and prosperity. Prime Minister Lofven welcomed the “Digital India” initiative of the Indian Government. Recognizing the potential benefits of expanding and deepening cooperation in this area, both sides endorsed the creation of a new Joint Working Group on Digital Technologies and Economy. Prime Minister Lofven welcomed India’s “Smart Cities” programme. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the launch of the Joint Working Group on Sustainable Urban Development under the MoU signed in 2015 and agreed to encourage their companies and government agencies to support the development of Smart Cities. They looked forward to the finalization of a Joint Action Plan, focusing on digital land management, solid waste management and urban transport. In the context of the MoU, the Swedish side also expressed interest in focusing on one or more cities for development as smart cities. The two Prime Ministers noted that Sweden is recognized as one of the leading nations in the world in innovation and that India has a vast pool of talented professionals and is known for its world-class engineering.They agreed that this creates synergies to be explored by both business and government partnerships. Prime Minister Lofven, chairman of the Swedish National Innovation Council, extended an invitation to an Indian delegation to visit Sweden for a bilateral Sweden-India Innovation Dialogue. The two Prime Minister welcomed the ongoing bilateral cooperation in Education and the many new academic partnerships that were agreed during the visit to Sweden of the President of India. The two Prime Minister took note of the active cooperation in Science & Technology under the inter-governmental agreement and welcomed the new programme launched between India's Department of Science & Technology and the Swedish Research Council on collaborative research projects, with support from other Swedish governmental agencies. The two Prime Ministers recognized the great potential for exchange in the area of Transport and Infrastructure and agreed to explore a deeper collaboration. They welcomed the finalization of the text of a MoU on Co-operation in the Rail sector and acknowledged the potential business opportunities for the rail industry as well as opportunities of cooperation in research and education in the sector. The Prime Ministers expressed their appreciation for the ongoing cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Environment, signed in November 2009. They looked forward to future cooperation within the Indo-Swedish Working Group on Cooperation in the field of Environmental Protection. The two Prime Ministers emphasized the importance of skills development to prepare young people for the jobs of the 21st Century and noted with satisfaction the important contribution made by the skills development programmes of Swedish companies in India. They encouraged the companies to consider opportunities to scale up skill development to cover larger number of people. Both sides also noted the mutual benefits of facilitating labour mobility. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the ongoing cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding on Health, covering a large variety of areas including maternal and child health and public health policy as well as antimicrobial resistance.The Prime Ministers also recognized the potential business opportunities in the health sector and looked forward to the next meeting in the Joint Working Group, in March, as an occasion to further strengthen bilateral cooperation. The Prime Ministers welcomed cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) signed in 1986 and agreed to intensify collaboration in space science, exploration of the solar system, earth observation, climate and environmental studies and efficient use of space-related resources available in India as well as in Sweden such as satellite ground stations.
Cooperation on Defence matters
It was agreed that India and Sweden will enhance dialogue on Defence in key areas. They welcomed progress in the Joint Working Group under the MoU on Defence including plans for India-Sweden defence seminars in India in spring 2016 focusing on aviation, maritime security as well as combat training and simulation in the army domain. The two prime ministers acknowledged the potential for successful collaboration and agreed that under the rubric of Make in India, cooperation possibilities between their respective defence industries could be identified and taken forward appropriately, including in the field of aviation.
Both sides recognized that enhancing awareness of each other’s cultures boosts people-to-people ties and welcomed reciprocal festivals of ‘Namaste Stockholm’ in Sweden and Sweden-India Nobel Memorial Week in India. Both sides welcomed the designation of 21st of June as the International Day of Yoga by the UN General Assembly and recalled that all member states of United Nations had agreedto ‘’observe this day in an appropriate manner and in accordance with national priorities, in order to raise awareness of the benefits of practising yoga’’.
A deepened dialogue on Global Affairs
Both Prime Ministers agreed to a deeper bilateral dialogue on UN Issues at both capital and UN-Mission-level. They reiterated the need for urgent reform of the United Nations Security Council through an expansion in both categories of membership, to make it more effective and representative of the contemporary geo-political realities. Prime Minister Lofven expressed the view that it would be inconceivable that an important global actor such as India not be a Permanent Member of an enlarged Security Council and said that he will seek Parliamentary support for this view. The two countries called for forward movement in the Intergovernmental Negotiations on United Nations Security Council reform, and stressed their commitment to initiate text-based negotiations within the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly. Prime Minister Modi reaffirmed India’s support for Sweden’s candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. In their joint efforts to strengthen global non-proliferation and disarmament objectives, India and Sweden committed to work towards India’s further participation in the multilateral export control regimes. The two prime ministers recognized the common interest in preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism and the benefits of a closer dialogue and mutual exchange of information and good practices. They looked forward to an exchange of visits of their respective Special Envoys, with a view to explore agency level cooperation, capacity building, countering violent extremism experience sharing, and cooperation in developing an international framework against terrorism including elaborating and finalizing a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. The Prime Ministers are committed to promote human rights online, cyber security, combat cybercrime, and develop a common understanding on international cyber issues and support an open, inclusive, transparent and multi-stakeholder system of internet governance as well as the application of international law in cyberspace. In this regard, both sides agreed to explore cooperation among relevant agencies through a second round of bilateral consultations on cyber issues. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the Paris Agreement and its objective to hold the global temperature increase well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. Addressing climate change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy are shared strategic priorities for India and Sweden, and the Prime Ministers welcomed the active ongoing collaboration under the Memorandum of Understanding on Sweden-India Renewable Energy Cooperation and the announcement by the Swedish Energy Agency to contribute US Dollars 5 million towards funding for research and pilot projects in India in 2016-2018. The two Prime Ministers also welcomed the adoption of the “Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” and committed to supporting its implementation.They recognised the universal, indivisible and integrated nature of the Agenda 2030 which balances the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, the social and the environmental. Based on long democratic traditions in both countries, the two Prime Ministers expressed a continued commitment to democracy, rule of law, promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.They welcomed the fruitful cooperation between the two countries on strengthening the role of democratic governance globally, both through the UN, and its subsidiary bodies including the Human Rights Council, and through organizations like International IDEA. The two Prime Ministers agreed on the need to continue and step up efforts to ensure gender equality, respect for women’s and girls’ rights, and empowerment of women and girls in all spheres of life. The two Prime Ministers shared the conviction that the international humanitarian response system must be strengthened and in this context noted the problems of providing timely assistance and relief to people affected by natural disasters and crises.They welcomed the recent India-Sweden Joint Statement to the UN General Assembly on the Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations.They looked forward to the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit on 23-24 May in Istanbul, and stressed the need for constructive and inclusive outcomes. The two Prime Ministers agreed on the need to tap the full potential of the EU-India strategic partnership, and welcomed the intention of the two sides to hold a summit in 2016.They also welcomed the prospect of resumption of talks on the India – EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA). Both the Indian and Swedish side remain committed to the WTO and a transparent, fair and predictable global trade regime.
The two Prime Ministers also discussed other issues of regional and global interest. Prime Minister Lofven invited Prime Minister Modi to visit Sweden on mutually convenient dates, to be decided through diplomatic channels.
13 February 2016, Mumbai