India and Finland talk Arctic Council, digital partnership and climate change

By: |
March 17, 2021 7:40 PM

Both sides underlined the key role of the Arctic Council as the main forum for circumpolar cooperation on Arctic matters and took note of the increasing international attention towards the Council.

india finlandIndia and Finland have much potential for enhanced cooperation on polar issues, taking into consideration India’s observer status within the Arctic Council.

India and Finland at the end of a virtual summit on Tuesday evening announced an ambitious Digital partnership. The talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Sanna Marin virtually lasted about an hour and focused on increasing “Sustainability Partnership” which will involve renewable and clean energy, circular economy, as well as sustainable mobility. The two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to work for multilateralism, a rules-based international order, Sustainable Development Goals and to jointly combat climate change. The two sides talked about Future Mobile Technologies and Digital education and ICT.

India and Finland have much potential for enhanced cooperation on polar issues, taking into consideration India’s observer status within the Arctic Council. Both are consultative members of the Antarctic Treaty and both have active stations in Antarctica. Both sides underlined the key role of the Arctic Council as the main forum for circumpolar cooperation on Arctic matters and took note of the increasing international attention towards the Council. India as an active observer in the Arctic Council is welcome to join and concretely contribute to these efforts.

The two Prime Ministers interacted for the first time on Tuesday (March 16, 2021),  since the Finnish Prime Minister assumed office in 2019.  The longstanding close relations between India and Finland which were based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, equality, and respect for human rights was highlighted during talks.

“We have strong cooperation in such areas as technology, innovation, clean energy, environment, education,” said Prime Minister Modi. Adding, “Post-COVID, all the sectors are vital for global economic recovery.  And, Finland is a global leader in the field of clean energy, and is also an important partner of India.”

COVID-19 Vaccines

Both leaders emphasized on the urgent need to speed up the development and to scale up the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines. And promote equitable access to all countries.

The joint statement issued at the end of talks states that “India, through COVAX has provided 59 million doses to more than 70 countries. Prime Minister Modi stressed that Finland, also a firm supporter of vaccine solidarity, particularly through COVAX has also invested in R & D of new technologies for COVID-19 vaccines.”

Education

A High Level Dialogue in education between the Education Ministries was announced during the summit level talks. The two welcomed the proposal to renew the MoU between a consortium of ten Finnish Universities and 23 IITs for the subsequent five years.

On Climate Change

PM Modi has urged Finland to join the International Solar Alliance, and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) to increase international cooperation.

According to the joint statement they both conveyed their support to an open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system. And also extended support for each other and expressed solidarity in the endeavour to bring about reforms in the United Nations.

Arctic Council

India and Finland underlined the key role of the Arctic Council which is the main forum for circumpolar cooperation on Arctic matters. With the international interest in the Arctic Council, India as an active observer in the Arctic Council can contribute to the efforts.

India-EU Strategic Partnership:  India-EU27 Leaders’ Meeting is going to take place in Portugal in May 2021. This will be an opportunity for PM Modi to meet the leaders from the EU. Recently launched EU−India High-Level Dialogue on Trade & Investment is an important tool.

At the end of the summit, responding to a media query on the forth-coming India-Nordic Summit, Neeta Bhushan, joint secretary, Central Europe, MEA, said “The dates are in the process of being finalized. And with countries in the region like Finland, the push has been on greater participation in the ‘Make in India’ initiative.”

She also said, “The engagement with various countries including the Nordic countries and India is deepening. Ranking very high in the human development index, they are repositories of cutting edge technology.”

According to her, companies from these countries have a big presence in India and are actively participating in the ‘Make in India’ programme.

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