With deepening relations between India and Sweden, including defence ties, what all can Stockholm offer to Delhi? PM Modi during his visit to Sweden last April signed the Innovation Partnership Agreement with Sweden, which is ranked as the third most innovative country after Switzerland and the Netherlands, according to 2018 Global Innovation Index (GII).
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Ambassador Teppo Tauriainen, Director General-Trade of Sweden was in New Delhi to take stock of the progress. Tauriainen during his visit to India has talked about the Agreement signed with PMO.
While speaking about the deal he answered some questions like how India can get benefits with this deal and how useful is this Agreement is for Sweden and what are things which World’s third most Innovative country is looking for?
Benefits For India
The Ambassador said “We signed a partnership agreement. We will share our experiences. It is not only Sweden, which will present its ideas. We will learn from India as well. For example, India is planning to build 100 new smart cities. I think what we can offer ideas and technology. How you do it in practice, that is the challenge. For example, there are areas such as water treatment and how to organise public transport. There are many technologies that you can develop and combine sustainability and economic viability.
Defence and Security Cooperation
Sweden has a big defence industry and it has been working with India over many years. We have always been a non-aligned country. We need to have a defence industry. But we are a small country to keep defence companies going.
We need to sell their products in the global market. And Swedish companies have what India needs for its security. World today is looking different, what it was 10 years ago. We are actually in process of strengthening our defence. we don’t have an immediate threat as the neighbourhood is calm, But at the same time, there is a political consensus in Sweden to be prepared. Hope we will never be able to use them. We had also signed an agreement on cybersecurity, which is a relatively new issue, but very important We are still early to devise how to combat.”
The Masters in Waste Treatment
Sweden is a leader in waste treatment. We collect waste and convert it into providing a heating and cooling system in homes. For heating our houses, instead of using electricity, we have centres in cities and districts where waste is burnt and converted into energy to heat up water. The heated water goes to buildings via tubes. We use waste to create heat. You can use it to create cooling as well. No Swedish city has either waste dumpsites or landfills. In a situation like India’s, it can be also used to produce biofuel and to cool homes.
India-Sweden Defence Relations
Indian defence forces are buying and using Swedish equipment, maybe not in big numbers. There might be possibilities of some bigger deals, we have some equipment that may interest to India. For example fighter jets. It is not a secret that Saab, our fighter jet company is present here, presenting what they can offer. It is for Indian defence forces to choose. We present solutions. It is for Indian defence forces to see if they work for them. It has worked well for us. I have seen others in different countries talk about these fighter jets the Saab JAS 39 Gripen. Pilots like this aircraft. That is why we have chosen India to engage.
Sweden’s Take on Human Rights in India
On this, the Tauriainen said, I don’t know India well enough to comment. But I can say there is an absolute consensus in Swedish society, we need to stand up for key human values. Even in countries where we are in complete disagreement, we can still have dialogue that we have shown. Thanks to credibility we have, we are able to talk to countries that we believe are not acting as we believe should have acted. There are different ways to speak up. Sometimes we speak openly, sometimes bilaterally in meetings. The important thing is for Sweden or Swedish politician, it would be difficult not to defend some of these values.