President of India pays landmark first-ever visit to Sweden

President of India pays landmark first-ever visit to Sweden

President of India pays landmark first-ever visit to Sweden


The Hon'ble President of India will be paying a state visit to Sweden staring from today, 31st May to the 2ndof June at the invitation of His Majesty the King of Sweden. The President will be accompanied by the Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, as well as Members of Parliament Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad and Shri Ashwani Kumar, Member of the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and Lower House (Lok Sabha) respectively. He would also be accompanied, besides the delegation of senior officials, by seven Vice Chancellors and Directors of leading Indian universities. Over 60 business leaders will also be going alongside the President and will be participating in business conferences which are being organized. A special feature will be a CEO Round Table with the CEO of Sweden's leading companies, organized by the Indian Embassy in Sweden and Business Sweden.

On arrival on Sunday, the President will be given a ceremonial welcome. He will ride in a traditional horse-drawn carriage accompanied by Their Majesties to the Royal Palace where the entire Swedish government led by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will greet him. He will next spend time with the Royal family. Thereafter, at a Reception hosted in his honour by the Indian Ambassador, the President will interact with about 300 members of the Indian community, who are coming to Stockholm from other cities in Sweden as well as from Latvia.

The next day, the President visits the Parliament and meets Mr Urban Ahlin, the Speaker and other Members of Parliament drawn from different parties. This will be followed by a meeting and talks with Mr. Stefan Löfven, the Prime Minister, who will be assisted by a number of senior Ministers including the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Environment Ms. Asa Romson, the Foreign Minister Ms. Margot Wallström, the Defence Minister Mr. Peter Hultqvist and the Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mr. Mikael Damberg. A number of Agreements and MoUs will be signed after the talks related to cooperation in important and wide-ranging areas such urban development, MSMEs (micro, small & medium enterprises), Polar Research and health.

Simultaneously, a number of agreements are to be signed between Indian and Swedish Universities in a separate function hosted by the Swedish Minister for Education and Research. This would give a fillip to cooperation in the important field of education and human resource development.

The President will be hosted for lunch by the Mayor of Stockholm and the President of the City Council in the iconic City Hall where the Nobel Dinner is held. He will be briefed on Stockholm's 'smart city' Hammarby Sjostad and then taken there for an overview.

In the evening, the Leader of Opposition Mrs. Anna Kinberg Batra would call on him before the state banquet hosted in his honour by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden.

On the 2nd of June, the President will visit Karolinska Institute which is a foremost leading institute of medicine and related studies, and he would also visit the Uppsala University which is one of the oldest European universities and it has a great tradition for innovation.
He will thereafter have a Roundtable with CEOs of leading global Swedish companies including Ericsson, Volvo, Sandvik, Saab and Scania. The next engagement will be an address on the subject of "India-Sweden Partnership- Co-creating a Brighter Future" at a business conference, which has the broad theme of "Innovate, Make & Grow in India".

The President's last engagement is a Public Lecture on 'Tagore & Gandhi: Contemporary Relevance for Global Peace' at the prestigious Uppsala University. Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel will grace the occasion. Foreign Minister Margot Wallström will introduce the President and make opening remarks. The ancient University of Uppsala is renowned for its cutting edge research in many fields has an India Chair. A bust of Rabindra Nath Tagore was installed in this University last year to commemorate the centenary of the award of Nobel Prize to the poet Laureate.

Briefing the Indian media in New Delhi on the eve of the visit, the Press Secretary of the President Mr Venu Rajamony said, "The President is convinced that there is great synergy between India and Sweden. Sweden has a great deal of expertise, capabilities, experience as well as leading multinationals with investible resources with an interest in investing in India or with a history of already operating in India in areas which are extremely important to India and where we have launched national programmes like the Smart Cities programme, the Digital India programme, the Skill India programme, etc. So, there is great scope to exploit the potential of this relationship."
He added, "President Mukherjee is going to complete three years of his Presidency and in the last three years innovation is a very important theme that he has picked up and he has been traveling the length and breadth of the country urging universities to set up innovation clubs, encouraging universities to establish contacts with grassroots entrepreneurs. And just a few months back for the first time ever Rashtrapati Bhavan was host to a festival of innovations which saw experts from all over the world as well as students and grassroots entrepreneurs come together for discussions, for exhibition, for exchange of experience, etc."
He further said, "As is by now the pattern with the President, he is also taking an important academic delegation with him comprising Vice Chancellors and Heads of various educational institutions. As Secretary has already pointed out, they will interact with their counterparts, there will be agreements which are signed. Improving the quality of higher education in India is another major theme which President Mukherjee has picked up and has been actively advocating over the last three years. He hopes that this visit to Sweden and the fact that he has a large number of academic experts travelling with him will help further enhance the quality of higher education in India."

Last Saturday on May 23, as a forerunner to this historic visit, between ten to fifteen thousand residents of Stockholm explored, experienced and enjoyed India at Namaste Stockholm, a festival organized by the Indian Embassy and its partners in Kungsträgården, the city's central park.

Background

India and Sweden established diplomatic relations in 1949 and the bilateral relationship, based on the strong foundations of common democratic values, has steadily grown, particularly in economic terms.

There have been Prime Ministerial level visits, there have been several Ministerial level visits and official level visits, and also several important Parliamentary delegations have been exchanged. However, this is the first ever Head of State visit from India to Sweden and is, therefore, a landmark visit.

As far as trade and investment are concerned, over the last ten years there has been a steady upward trend. Trade has reached about USD 2.5 billion dollars. Moreover, over 170 Swedish companies have been very active in India, starting from Ericsson which came to India in 1903. The number of Indian companies in Sweden is also increasing. While the majority are IT firms working out of Sweden, there are also some investments in manufacturing by large Indian global companies like Aditya Birla , Bharat Forge, Kemwell Pharma and Tata Steel etc,

Sweden is today the twelfth largest contributors of FDI to India. India is the third largest trade partner after China and Japan in Asia for Sweden.

At the moment there is a very fortuitous and a very potentially fruitful matching of the economic requirements of India in terms of the several programmes that have been launched by the Indian government such as Make in India, Skill Development, Swachh Bharat, Digital India and the Smart Cities urbanization programme and Swedish capabilities in specifically these areas, particularly in urbanization, water management, renewable energy, education, and information technology.

Sweden is one of the top three innovative nations in the world and, therefore, is home to key research for technologies, services and products. India is an ideal destination for expanding these technological breakthroughs on a large scale.

 

************************************