The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg flew down to India for a three-day state visit on Monday. She held bilateral cooperation talks with Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, delivered the inaugural address at the 4th Raisina Dialogue, and addressed the India-Norway Business Summit
The Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg flew down to India for her first three-day state visit. During her visit, she held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, evaluating the current state of bilateral ties and deliberating common concerns for the two countries. She also delivered the inaugural address at India’s 4th Raisina Dialogue and addressed the India-Norway Business Summit.
The meeting between Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg on Tuesday focused on sustainable development. The Indian PM informed that during his meet with the Norwegian PM in 2017, she gifted him a football that “actually represented the goals of Sustainable Development.” This year’s deliberations aimed at increasing efforts for sustainable development to enhance bilateral cooperation.
Indian Prime Minister asserted, “Sustainable Development Goals are also totally in congruence with the development goals of India. And it is a matter of happiness for us that both the countries are collaborating successfully on the subject of mother and child health through “Norway-India Partnership Initiative.”
The Norwegian Prime Minister and her Indian counterpart also evaluated existing cooperative ties in areas such as UN Security Council Reforms, Multi-Lateral Export Control Regimes, and Terrorism. Later, during a joint address, the Indian Prime Minister averred, “you can imagine Norway’s expertise on the subject of the Ocean Economy from the fact that 70% of Norway’s export is from Norway’s maritime industry.” He added, “I am happy that in this important sector today we have added a new dimension of cooperation in our relations. Our bilateral Ocean Dialogue will give direction to our cooperation in all the sectors related to this area.”
A ceremony held at the Hyderabad House, witnessed the signing of a MoU on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue and the “establishment of the Joint Task Force on Blue Economy under aegis of the MoU”. This would promote sustainable use of oceans for food security, climate friendly maritime transportation, and mineral exploration.
This was followed by the Norwegian Prime Minister’s inaugural address at the 4th edition of the Raisina Dialogue, which brought together over 600 delegates from 93 countries. The theme for this year’s dialogue, held between January 8-10, 2019, was “A World Reorder: New Geometries; Fluid Partnerships; Uncertain Outcomes”.
In her address, Prime Minister Erna Solberg asserted, “We cannot afford to let protectionism global trade rivalry take a dominant role. Free trade creates winners, protectionism does not.” She also highlighted the need for collective action in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hinting at the current US-China trade dispute, she added “When large countries respect international law, smaller countries take note. The principle ‘might is right’ cannot be used as a basis for governing our oceans, or anything else, for that matter.”
Praising India’s efforts with regards to the UN SDGs, the Norwegian PM informed the Raisina Dialogue that India and Norway are among the few nations that have “research activities at both the North Pole and the South Pole.” Referring to India’s SAGAR policies, comprising the country’s vision for the Indian Ocean region, PM Erna Solberg said, “Ambitious new initiatives have been launched to develop India’s blue economy.”
During her three-day state visit, the Norwegian Prime Minister also addressed the India-Norway Business Summit. She recognised India as an important economic and trade partner, stating, “The aim of the new strategy is to strengthen Norway’s bilateral relations and economic ties with India. Private sector engagement, research and technical cooperation are key components of the strategy.”
Indian Commerce Minister, Suresh Prabhu said that his ministry and the Norwegian counterpart ministry were looking to sign an agreement to facilitate dialogue between India and Norway to increase bilateral trade. He further added that India was looking “forward to signing an FTA, there are several rounds (of negotiations) which have taken place, you are a part of the grouping (EFTA) and we really look forward to that concluding soon which will provide a framework for bilateral trade to grow”.