India-Finland Virtual Summit

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    Recently, the Prime Ministers of India and the Republic of Finland have held a virtual summit, discussing the bilateral issues as well as other regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

    Highlights of the Summit

    • Both countries underlined the warm and friendly ties of their diplomatic relations based on shared principles and values of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.
    • Covid-19 Pandemic
      • Emphasized the need for scaling up manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines and promoting equitable access to all countries.
      • India has provided 59 million doses to more than 70 counties including through COVAX Initiative.
      • Finland also is a firm supporter of vaccine solidarity, particularly through COVAX and has also invested in the R&D of new technologies for Covid-19 vaccines.
    • Digital Partnership
      • The digital domain is one of the most promising sectors for an intensive partnership so the emphasis would be on three key future domains,
        • Future Information and Communications Technology (ICT), focusing on quantum technologies and computing.
        • Future mobile technologies, focusing on 6G research and development.
        • Future education, focusing on the digital transformation of teaching and learning.
      • Essential and cross-cutting elements of all these key domains are the utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and blockchain technologies.
      • India is one of the main target countries of Finland’s Talent Boost programme.
      • Endorsed the Joint Commission and the India-Finland Science and Technology Committee.
    • Polar Issues
      • Both nations are consultative members of the Antarctic Treaty and have active stations in Antarctica.
      • India as an active observer in the Arctic Council has been welcomed to join and concretely contribute to enhanced cooperation on polar issues.
    • African Perspective
      • Both parties acknowledge the growing importance of Africa and look forward to enhancing cooperation in and with Africa.
      • Later in 2021, bilateral talks on Africa will offer an opportunity for more discussion on matters of mutual interest and possible further action.
    • European Union (EU)-India
      • Both stressed the importance of continuing the implementation of results from the 15th India-EU Summit (July 2020).
      • Welcomed the upcoming 16th India-EU Summit (May 2021), which will be a new milestone for India-EU Strategic Partnership.
      • The EU-India High-Level Dialogue on Trade and Investment, launched in February 2021, is an important tool.
    • Environment
      • Both countries are committed to enhancing the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: “Clean Water and Sanitation for All” and SDG 13: “Climate Action”.
        • This includes efforts to develop Global Water and Climate Observation Systems to inform climate-resilient long-term water policy planning and implementation and efforts to promote technology and R&D cooperation to solve water-related challenges.
      • India appreciated Finland’s leading role in clean and green technologies, and noted the potential for Finnish companies to partner India’s drive towards sustainable development.
        • India looks forward to enhanced cooperation in areas like renewable and bio-energy, sustainability, etc.
    • Climate Relevant Initiatives
      • Finland welcomed the universalisation of membership in the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
      • Prime Minister Marin emphasized the EU’s announced intention to join the Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
      • India appreciated the important role of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action (a Finland-Chile initiative).
      • The MoU on Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral resources was a step towards diversification of our relationship.
        • It was signed in December 2020 between the Geological Survey of India and the Geological Survey of Finland.
      • Both agreed on the need to ensure that the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 and Biodiversity Conference COP15 will produce positive outcomes.
      • India and Finland will cooperate closely on fulfilling their ambitious national targets on climate under the Paris Agreement.
    • Cultural Connections
      • Both stressed the importance of people-to-people contacts in all fields, especially in the areas of culture, education and tourism.
      • This could be facilitated by the resumption of direct flights between India and Finland.
    • Multilateral Cooperation
      • Both reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based international order and through the United Nations (UN) reforms, they can achieve more effective multilateralism.
      • In this regard, both continue to support constructive efforts during the 75th Session of UNGA to reform the UN Security Council which needs to become more transparent, more effective, and more representative.
      • Finland supports the permanent membership of India in a reformed and expanded UNSC, and reminds of the candidacy of Finland for a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the term 2029-2030.
      • Finland thanked India for its commitment to support the elections to the UN Human Rights Council in 2021.
      • Both countries reaffirmed their support to an open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
      • They underlined the importance of promoting post-Covid-19 economic recovery via the WTO.
    Finland

    • It is a Nordic country and is also called “the land of a thousand lakes” as inland lakes and rivers make up 10% of the country.
      • The Nordic region consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.
    • Borders
      • In the north, Finland has land borders with Norway and Sweden, and the three nations’ borders all meet at Treriksröset (The Three-Country Cairn).
      • Finland also has a land border with Russia and sea borders with Estonia and Åland.
    • Finland is a member of the EU and not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
    • Significance of Nordic Countries for India
      • Relationship with the Nordic states is an important part of rapidly evolving Indian foreign policy priorities.
      • In the changing global context, in which states like China and Russia are remoulding the rules of global governance to their advantage, a strong partnership between Nordic nations with India is desirable as well as an imperative of changing global realities.
      • The first India-Nordic summit, held in April 2018, reaffirmed the commitment of both sides to work towards supporting free trade as a catalyst for achieving inclusive growth and realising the SDGs.
      • Issues such as trade, growth, global security, smart cities, renewable energy, and climate change are on the agenda of India’s broader engagement with the Nordic countries.
      • Nordic nations have been strong supporters of India’s “Make in India” campaign.
      • India received support from the Nordic countries for its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) and a seat at the UNSC as a permanent member.
        • The NSG support from the Nordic states is particularly significant because there was a time when these states had adopted a strong moralistic approach to India’s nuclear programme.
      • There is huge potential for India to learn from Nordic nations, which rank the highest along with various human developments indices.
      • India can benefit from the Nordic approach to innovation systems, characterised by a strong collaboration between the public sector, private sector and academia and synergies need to be identified with India’s rich pool of talent and skills.
      • Nordic solutions in clean technologies, maritime solutions, port modernisation, food processing, health, life-sciences and agriculture are also something from which India can benefit and learn.
      • The unique strengths of India and the Nordic countries offer immense opportunities for trade and investment diversification and mutually beneficial collaborations.

    (Image Courtesy: Maps of World)

    Source: PIB