New Delhi has been gradually boosting relations with the Nordic-Baltic countries, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar said on Wednesday, as he invited investments from countries in the region to develop ports, renewable energy, food processing and fisheries in India.
India has put in place institutional frameworks to foster closer business-to-business cooperation with countries in the group, Jaishankar said while addressing the second edition of the Confederation of Indian industry (CII) India-Nordic Baltic Business Conclave in New Delhi.
The Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) comprises Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden, forming a key regional alliance.
Jaishankar said India recently opened embassies in Tallinn in Estonia and Vilnius in Lithuania, and plans to start an embassy in Latvia very soon.
The minister said India’s combined trade in goods with the eight countries was about $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2023, and the cumulative foreign direct investment received from the region since 2000 stood at $4.69 billion.
More than 700 Nordic companies are present in India, and close to 150 Indian companies have their presence in that region, Jaishankar added.
India’s skilled workforce, digital adoption, and vibrant startups align with the Baltic region’s strengths in e-governance and digital innovation, Jaishankar said, adding that their open economies, featuring responsive governance and favourable investment climates, create natural synergies for deeper ties.
The minister also pitched India’s advancing space program by noting that the strategic importance of Arctic launch sites present opportunities for increased public-private collaboration in space and geospatial sectors.
Speaking at the same conclave, trade minister Piyush Goyal said India’s exports to the Nordic region has grown about 40% between 2018-19 to 2022-23, and that a significant chunk of that went to Finland and Norway.
Goyal noted that Indian cuisine, Bollywood films, yoga, ayurveda and textiles are quite popular in the region, while acknowledging that the countries are at the forefront in innovation, green tech, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain-led transformation
Supply chain logistics and fintech are also areas where there is a huge scope for collaboration with India, Goyal said, while emphasizing that this is an “exciting era of partnership, innovation and shared prosperity.
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