India, Sweden ink joint action plan, innovation partnership

Modi for his part has been sending conflicting messages about his free trade credentials

The statement issued on Tuesday said, "The Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland) agree that India is a strong candidate for a permanent seat in a reformed Security Council expanded with both permanent and non-permanent members".

He also met Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, and discussed the areas of cooperation in trade and investment, shipping and port-development, blue economy, renewable energy, health, IT and green transport solutions.

Modi's visit will have a particular focus on the India-UK technological partnership as well as an enhanced role in the Commonwealth.

Speaking in Hindi, Prime Minister Modi said that in 2016, Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had visited India with a huge business delegation and India's biggest Make in India event outside the country was also organised in Sweden a year ago. Brushing up on the issues under discussion, he said, "ultimately, it's about creating jobs and economic growth".

"The partnership will deepen the long and fruitful relations between our countries, building upon the Joint Statement between our Prime Ministers issued in Mumbai 2016 and the Joint Action Plan agreed in Stockholm in 2018", it said. "I am confident that new opportunities for cooperation in this sector will arise in the future, especially in defence production".

According to the Joint Action Plan, both sides "reaffirmed the need for reform of the UN Security Council, including its expansion, to make it more representative, accountable, effective, and responsive to the realities of the 21st century".

Earlier in the day, Modi called on Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Royal Palace here and the two leaders exchanged views on strengthening bilateral cooperation. Modi also said India and Sweden will continue their close cooperation on the worldwide stage.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the United Kingdom on Wednesday for a four-day visit of bilateral engagements as well as multilateral discussions as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). "The previous visits took place in 1957 and 1988".

"No important global conversation, be it on climate change or sustainable development, is complete without the voice of India", said Löfven during the joint press conference in Stockholm. PM Modi also held separate bilateral meetings with leaders of each of four other Nordic countries. Mr. Modi also had a roundtable meeting with Swedish CEOs and a call on by the Leader of Opposition.

On 20 April, the PM will fly to Germany where he will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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