India calling: Finland upbeat about Make in India, partnering in innovation

Modi Sipla

Innovation, cutting-edge technologies and enhanced business are set to power India’s relations with Finland – the Scandinavian country better known for Nokia smartphones – in months to come. The Make in India week in Mumbai has ignited enthusiasm of Finland Prime Minister Juha Sipila, who is looking to scale up investments in the world’s fastest growing economy in diverse sectors. During talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr Sipla on February 13, the two leaders discussed a host of initiatives, including the need to improve ease of doing business that have been taken to bring in consistency, clarity and predictability in policies.

Mr Sipila welcomed the efforts made by the Indian government for reaching out to the business sector in his country. Leading Finnish mobile manufacturer Nokia has an R&D centre in India that employs 6000 people and their equipment serves 280 million mobile phone subscribers. The two leaders sought speedy and fair solutions to investment issues and conduct of Mutual Agreement Procedure as important elements in increasing investors’ confidence.

India and Finland welcomed the prospect of resumption of talks on the India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) that is expected to be energized ahead of Mr Modi’s likely visit to Brussels to attend the India-EU summit. There are more than 100 Finnish companies in India and some 25 Indian companies are operating in Finland. “The Finnish companies in India have manufacturing plants in the country and are truly Make in India-companies,” the joint statement said.  Many Finnish companies are engaged in the renewable energy and clean-tech segments.

Finland has also promised to offer solutions related to safety and security ecosystems in nuclear power plants. Aiming to increase cooperation in innovation and transform ideas into internationally marketable products, India and Finland have decided to enhance cooperation between universities and institutes of higher learning. The two countries also agreed that digitization and the ‘Internet of Things’ are emerging technologies that the innovators from both countries could take forward in cooperation. There was a strong emphasis on the relevance of promoting technology based start-ups that would enhance cooperation between the two countries.

India and Finland held negotiations on waiver of visas for diplomatic passport holders and the decision to move forward with a bio-refinery project for production of fuel grade Ethanol, acetic acid, furfural and bio-coal from bamboo in Assam.

The two countries also stressed o the importance of ratification and implementation of all UN legal instruments to counter terrorism. India and Finland encouraged enhanced efforts towards making progress on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

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