India And Sweden: Old Friends In New Times

(MENAFN- Colombo Gazette)

Written by Hakan Jevrell

This year marks 75 years of bilateral relations between India and Sweden and we have many reasons to celebrate: A record year for bilateral trade in 2022, strong growth of Swedish companies in India, and thriving bilateral cooperation.

My government, which took office in October last year, is committed to deepening and expanding our partnership even further, capitalising on the collaboration in innovation, green transition, energy, health, industry policy and more. In these uncertain geopolitical times, friends must stick together.

In 2023 we are also celebrating the anniversaries of Ericsson, SKF, Alfa Laval, and Volvo - notable Swedish companies in India. These companies have been ambassadors of Sweden in India - for innovation, sustainable manufacturing, skill development, and social inclusion.

Much has changed in the past 100 years. We have gone from limited contacts to a flourishing partnership. Sweden and India have developed national wealth through industry and manufacturing. Swedish companies have been key drivers in both these domains and through their work, Sweden and India have found friends in one another.

While we celebrate our past and present, and the people who brought us there, we are also ambitious and look to the future. For me, this anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the principles that should guide us for the next 100 years. I would like to mention two dimensions:

First, Sweden and India have both identified industry and manufacturing as the key to building long-term economic growth. The extensive bilateral manufacturing exchange between Sweden and India has allowed our two countries to benefit from each other. We have found that an active industry policy necessitates partnerships and taking bold steps. The companies did so over several decades, we benefit from it today, and we can do it again tomorrow.

Second, the future belongs to the green and sustainable. I am proud to see the many Swedish innovations, made in India, which enable decarbonisation at scale. Speaking of bold steps, we need to deepen our work toward socially and environmentally sustainable practices throughout the entire supply chain. The investment we make today builds our shared competitive advantage for tomorrow.

I am happy to witness the clear commitment to this vision, from governments and businesses alike. Bilaterally, we prioritise digitalisation, the green transition, and the industry of the future.

Multilaterally, we lead the way as co-chairs of the Leadership Group for Industry Transition and through our presidencies of the European Union and Group of 20 nations that form the world's largest economies.

We have the opportunity for even closer ties. Having the European Union presidency, Sweden is one of the strongest proponents for a Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and India. It would be a game-changer for our economic and industrial exchange and its positive impact would be especially noticeable in cities like pune , with a strong Swedish company presence.

I look forward to the opportunities to celebrate our partnership over the year and I feel even greater optimism for where we will go in the future.

The writer is State Secretary to Sweden's Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade


Colombo Gazette

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