India-Sweden Defence Industry Webinar

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    Recently, India and Sweden have held a defence industry webinar.

    Key Highlights

    • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers and the Swedish Security and Defence Industry Association to promote bilateral defence industrial relations.
    • The Defence Minister of India has invited a high-level delegation from Sweden to have a glimpse of Indian defence industries and defence industry corridors.
      • There is a lot of scope for the Swedish and Indian defence industries for co-production and co-development.
      • Indian industry can also supply components to Swedish industries.
    • Sweden welcomed the understanding by India and European Union (EU) to resume negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
      • It held that one area with potential for deepening defence industry cooperation was amongst Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) businesses.

    (Image Courtesy: Twitter)

    India-Sweden Relations

    • Sweden is the largest Nordic country in terms of landmass, population and GDP and is a member of the EU.
    • Sweden is an externally oriented economy with a focus on services and industry sectors, especially on manufacturing, IT, life sciences, circular economy, clean technologies.
    • It consistently ranks among the top economies in the world in terms of innovation.
    • Political Engagement
      • Diplomatic relations were established in 1948 and steadily strengthened over the decades.
      • India and Sweden co-hosted the first-ever India Nordic Summit in Stockholm in April 2018 where Prime Ministers of India and all five Nordic countries participated.
      • Sweden also participated in the first India Nordic-Baltic Conclave co-chaired by Indian External Affairs Minister in November 2020.
      • In 2018, both sides adopted a wide-ranging Joint Action Plan and signed a Joint Innovation Partnership.
      • The first high-level Dialogue on Innovation Policy was held in December 2019.
    • High-Level Visits
      • There has been a regular exchange of official and business delegations over the last several years.
        • In the last five years, around 40 Indian delegations at the Ministerial/Senior Official level have visited Sweden.
      • 2019 was declared as India Sweden Year of Health on completion of a decade of Health MoU.
      • An India Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre was launched in December 2019.
        • This is a collaboration between AIIMS Delhi, AIIMS Jodhpur, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Swedish Trade Commissioner’s Office and AstraZeneca.
      • Swedish Minister of Health addressed the Aarogya Manthan 2.0 in Aug 2020 and Indian Health Minister addressed the ‘Health Talks’ organised by the Swedish side during the Nobel Memorial Week in December 2020.
      • A Sweden India Transport Innovation and Safety Partnership (SITIS) was signed in February 2020.
      • A ministerial LeadIT (Leadership Group on Industry Transition) meeting was held in December 2020 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
    • Trade and Economy
      • India-Sweden bilateral trade was USD 1.862 billion in 2019-20.
      • India is the 3rd largest trading partner for Sweden in Asia.
      • Swedish business presence in India dates back more than a hundred years and has concentrated especially in Pune since the 1960s.
      • Swedish companies are among the leading global players in several fields and are present in India in sectors including IT, automobiles, earth moving & mining, process plant equipment, pharmaceuticals, packaging, sustainable urban solutions, retail, defence, etc. 
      • Several Swedish SMEs are also active in India especially in IT, renewable energy and manufacturing.
      • Swedish companies have a long record of manufacturing in India and rank 5th in Make in India.
      • The Embassy of India supports the organisation of an annual India Sweden Innovation Day.
      • Sweden also hosts a Sweden India Nobel Memorial Week in India focusing on promoting business and academic linkages.
    • Research and Innovation
      • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), along with ICMR are partnering with various Swedish agencies to co-fund projects relating to research and industrial applications.
      • The range of areas of cooperation includes Smart Cities and CleanTech, Nano Sciences, Computer Sciences, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart Grids, Energy Research (storage, e-mobility, new fuels), Waste to Wealth, Circular Economy, Digitisation and Internet of Things (IoT), etc.
    • Bilateral Institutional Cooperation Mechanisms
      • A range of MoUs and bilateral agreements exist covering sectors including Sustainable Urban Development, Renewable Energy, Railways, Space, Polar Science and Defence.
      • There are a number of Joint Working Groups (JWG) established under many of these MoUs.
      • There also exist agreements on avoidance of Double Taxation Bilateral Investment Protection and Air Services.
      • The 19th session of the Indo-Swedish Joint Commission for Economic, Industrial and Scientific Corporation was held in Sweden in October 2019.
      • The 6th Meeting of India Sweden Joint Committee on Science and Technology was held in Sweden in May 2019.
    • Multilateral Engagement
      • India and Sweden jointly launched the Leadership Group on Industry Transition (LeadIT) in association with World Economic Forum (WEF) at the UN Climate Action Summit convened by the UN Secretary-General in September 2019 in New York.
        • The Stockholm Environment Institute is the Secretariat for LeadIT whose membership has since expanded to 29 members including 13 countries (including France, Germany, RoK and UK) and 16 big companies (including Dalmia Cement, Mahindra Group and SpiceJet).
      • At the first-ever UN Conference on Human Environment that was hosted by Sweden in Stockholm in 1972.
      • In the 1980s India and Sweden worked together on nuclear disarmament issues within the framework of the ‘Six Nation Peace Summit’ (that also included Argentina, Greece, Mexico and Tanzania).
      • At the UN General Assembly, India and Sweden present an annual Joint Statement on Humanitarian Affairs.
      • In 2013 during the Swedish Presidency, India joined the Arctic Council as an Observer at the Kiruna Ministerial Meeting.
      • Both countries have, in the past, joined hands on common causes such as decolonisation, anti-apartheid promoting development partnerships, environment, UN Peacekeeping, UN Peacebuilding and disarmament. 
    • Cultural And Academic Ties
      • In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore became the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize (for Literature).
        • The Nobel prizes are regarded as the most prestigious awards given annually from a fund bequeathed for that purpose by the Swedish inventor and industrialist Alfred Nobel.
        • In 2014, a bust of Rabindranath Tagore was installed in the university town of Uppsala to mark the 100 years of the award of the Nobel Prize to him.
      • In the mid-1950s, a small bronze statuette of Buddha seated on a lotus was discovered from an excavation conducted in an old Viking settlement on the island of Helgö on Lake Mällaren, west of Stockholm.
        • The statuette, popularly known as ‘Helgö Buddha’ is dated to around 1,400 years ago and is thought to be from Kashmir.
      • In the 18th century, the Swedish East India Company ships used to trade at ports in Gujarat and Bengal.
      • Indian classical arts, especially music and dance, Yoga and Ayurveda are popular among the Swedes.
      • A popular annual cultural event ‘Namaste Stockholm’ is supported by the Embassy of India
    • Indian Diaspora
      • The Indian diaspora in Sweden is estimated to be over 40,000 that includes around 35,000 Indian nationals.
      • Most of them are professionals and around 10,000 are estimated to be working in the IT sector.
      • So far, around 14,000 Swedish nationals have been issued OCI cards and there are a number of Indian Cultural Associations in Sweden.

    Source: TH