Press Release India Unlimited Sweden+India Week

Press Release India Unlimited Sweden+India Week

From 22nd to 28th April, India Unlimited's first India+Sweden Week showcased different and new aspects of the Indian economy and culture. On one hand, it stimulated productive discussions on some key themes which mapped the way ahead for economic partnerships between the two countries whilst on the other, it succeeded in demonstrating India's soft power through the four Cs - Cinema, Cuisine, Culture and Crafts.

The business conference in Clarion Hotel, organised with the help of the Sweden India Business Council and Business Sweden, brought together speakers from the business community, government and the academia from both countries for lively discussions on themes related to technology & services, leadership and innovation which threw up many interesting ideas for India-Sweden partnerships in different fields.

The themes addressed in conference were: (i) Technology & Services with separate sessions focusing on Research & Development and ICT & Security; (ii) Travel: India & Sweden - Find What you seek; (iii)Leadership: Gender & Diversity, Key to Success; (iv) Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Future Healthcare; (v) Sustainable Infrastructure: Smart Solutions for Future Cities; (vi) Re-Imagining India 2025; and (vii) Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Co-Creating the Future. Attendance at the eight sessions totaled almost a thousand.

The Keynote speakers at the inauguration of the week on April 23 were Dr.Arun Maira, Member of the Planning Commission responsible for facilitating the shaping of policies and programs relating to industrialisation and urbanisation in India and Ms. Anna Kinberg Batra, Parliamentary Group Leader of the Moderate Party in the Swedish Parliament. In her opening remarks on this occasion, Ambassador Harrison explained the goal of the India Unlimited platform - to inform players on both sides of the opportunities for fruitful cooperation across a range of sectors, in the hope that it would result in inspirations which lead to innovations that could have an impact globally.Dr. Maira and Ms Kinberg Batra spoke about the enormous potential that existed for bilateral collaboration across many areas and agreed that both countries could learn a lot from each other.Two important studies were released during the inaugural session - one on Accelerating Economic Engagement between India and Nordic Region and a Survey on Business Climate in India for Swedish companies.

Mr. Mattias Fyrenius, CEO of Nobel Media AB, which develops and manages programmes and productions of the Nobel Prize, announced at the inauguration that the biggest initiative in its 114-year history would be launched in India in October around the theme of "ideas changing the world. As part of a "Nobel Prize inspiration initiative", Nobel laureates, whose names are to be finalised soon, will travel to India and several universities will be included in the programme to absorb the inspiration behind the annual Nobel awards.

Important participants from the government included Mr. Daniel Johansson,State Secretary, Ministry of Information and Technology and Energy and Ms.Lena Furmark, State Secretary, Ministry of Health from the Swedish side and from the Indian side, Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology and Dr. Arabindo Mitra, Head, International Bilateral Cooperation Division, Department of Science and Technology.

Among the captains of industry who shared their thoughts in the conference were Mr. Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of many leading companies such as Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), LKAB and Saab AB and Mr. Deepak Premnarayen, Chairman ICS Group and leader of the 16 member CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) business delegation. Scania, a primary sponsor of the India Unlimited Platform was represented by CEO Mr. Martin Lundstedt and Mr. Anders Grundströmer, Managing Director, Scania India and President, Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India. Other business leaders who participated in different sessions included Mr. Mats Granryd, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tele2 AB; Mr Christian Johansson Chief Financial Officer of Gunnebo AB; Mr. Lars Olof Lindgren Chairman & MD of Saab India Technologies Pvt. Ltd and former Swedish Ambassador to India; Mr. Lars Winter, CEO of Domsjö Fabriker AB since 2012; Mr. Christian Kinch, owner and the Chairman of the company Bactiguard AB; Mr. Klas Eklund Senior Economist of SEB and Adjunct Professor of Economics, Lund University; Mr. Makarand Deolalkar, Chief of Operations (Industrials) of L&T Infotech and Mr. Amit Bajaj, head of Tata Consultancy Service's North European operations.

McKinsey & Co.'s publication Re-imagining India 2025 was released for the first time in Scandinavia on April 25 with Mr. Adil Zainulbhai , senior advisor at McKinsey India, who has compiled the book, sharing his insights on the complexities of the Indian business environment.

India+Sweden Week also included several interesting cultural programmes - an Indian Food Festival (April 22-27) was organized at Hotel Clarion showcasing some regional cuisines of India.

Cinema Indien, a festival of Indian films was organized with the help of SF Bio and Sweden India Film association from April 22 to 27, 2014. For the first time in Sweden, in the four theatres of Saga Cinema the Stockholm public had the chance to enjoy 32 Indian films representing the many languages and genres that make up the cinemas of India. Ms. Nandita Das, the well known actor and the director of Hindi cinema; Mr. Arnab (Riingo) Banerjee, an upcoming Bengali director and Mr. Dheeraj Akolkar, London-based director specialising in Scandinavian themes participated in the film festival.

Another first on the cultural events menu was a Saree Exhibition: "Which came first, the saree or the toga?" held at the prestigious venue of Millesgården.It showcased different weaving traditions of India and Master craftspeople especially flown from India showed their artistry at the inaugural function on April 28, 2014. Almost a thousand visitors saw the exhibition on the first two days.

Yet another highlight of the cultural offerings of the week was a unique performance, 'Rhythm Divine', in which India's leading contemporary modern dance artiste and choreographer, Astad Deboo presented his unique creation with Manipur's traditional Pung Cholam drummers at the Moderna Museet on April 25, 2014.

A crowning exclusive event of the week was "Haute Couture Indien" in which Ms. Bandana Tewari, head of Vogue India's Fashion Features section,presented a collection of oeuvres of the world's leading fashion designers created from traditional and unique textiles of India. 20 top fashion journalists from the fashion world of Sweden were among the audience at the presentation co-hosted by Sweden's leading interior design house Svenskt Tenn.

The India+Sweden Week also hosted a Gala Dinner for over 300 guests from the business and cultural elite of Stockholm who enjoyed delicacies from different regions of India prepared by Master chefs who had flown in from Delhi and Goa for the event while feasting their eyes on a rich variety of cultural programmes. As a guest said afterwards "A truly spectacular evening with delicious food and amazing entertainment from the dancers to the drummers to the incredible fashion really was a fantastic showcase for India".

The Week ended with Dance Expression, a splendid solo performance by India's leading modern dancer and choreographer Astad Deboo at the prestigious Dansens Hus Hall on 28th April, 2014.

According to Scania Newsroom "the hundreds of participants in India Unlimited agreed that the opportunities are boundless." Another view expressed by a Swedish participant in her blog after the event and shared by many "..while we, relatively, have come quite far with gender diversity in Sweden, we have a lot to learn from India when it comes to cultural and religious diversity and not in the least hospitality!" .

Ambassador Harrison said, "The enthusiastic reaction to the India+Sweden Week has convinced all the partners in the India Unlimited platform of the importance and value of organising it every year. We plan to hold the next edition in April-May 2015. We are optimistic that even more companies will join us and we will be able to take the event to other cities besides Stockholm." So watch this space....