India-Denmark Connect: Red carpet for Indians to Red Sea cooperation

Green may be the dominant colour of India-Denmark ties, but this multi-faceted strategic partnership is set to acquire new colours. In this conversation with Manish Chand, Founder-CEO, India Writes Network and Centre for Global Insights India, Danish Foreign Minister Mr. Lars Løkke Rasmussen highlighted new avenues of partnership opened by the signing of the landmark mobility and migration partnership during his visit to New Delhi in February this year.  The Danish minister also spoke enthusiastically about how Denmark, a Nordic powerhouse, is ready to roll out the red carpet for Indians visiting Denmark and enhance business and people-to-people ties with India.  Taking a strategic view of the burgeoning partnership, the minister also shared his views on how India and Denmark can cooperate in protecting freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. 

(Excerpts from the interview)

Q: Excellency, you had very productive and wide-ranging talks with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar in New Delhi. Taking off from those talks, what are the next steps in the India-Danish partnership?

A: We had a very fruitful conversation, following up our meeting last year. It was also a kind of evaluation meeting. I am satisfied with the progress we have achieved. We have taken new steps in India-Denmark relationship. For example, in Business visa department we are rolling out the red carpet. When we visited India last year, we had a business visa problem. It took too long time to get permission to work in Denmark. Now, we have brought down the business visa to just two weeks by adding not only more people to the embassy in Delhi, but by also by changing the regulation in Denmark. So, they are now more flexible. In this regard, the mobility and migration agreement we signed is a big step forward.

The mobility agreement provides a more predictable framework for Indians who want to work or study in Denmark, and we will give them some advantages. For instance, if you study in some of our universities the normal rule is you must have work the day after you graduate; otherwise, you have to leave Denmark. We will now allow Indian PhDs to stay in Denmark for at least three years. So, we will give certain advantages to the people coming from India. That is a huge progress as well.

Q) What about the progress in other areas such as health and skill development?

A) We explored and discussed two concrete ideas. One, in the healthcare sector. We lack nurses. You are scaling up. With this mobility agreement, we will allow Indian nurses to apply for jobs in Denmark. But, I am not quite sure many of them will go due to language constraints. I discussed the idea with the minister and we are going to explore that now whether it will be possible to establish a kind of Danish adjunct to one of the nursing educational facilities in India. The idea is that youngsters who study nursing skills at that particular institution would know for sure that when they graduate there will also be a possibility for work in Denmark. This idea will be taken forward during the visit of Denmark’s education minister later this year.

Q: Green strategic partnership remains the bedrock of the multi-faceted India-Denmark relationship. Going beyond green strategic partnership, what are the prospects of deepening India-Danish partnership in the areas of maritime and security sectors? 

A: If we can enhance our cooperation in the healthcare sector to mutual benefit, we can do the same thing in the maritime sector. That is pushing our cooperation forward. There is a lot of potential in the green tech sector. During my visit to India, I had the honour to witness the signing of four concrete agreements between Indian companies and Danish companies. Around 166 Danish companies are present in India, employing around 100,000 people. One-third of them have concrete plans to increase investment in the next coming years. We also had discussions with the Danish labour unions about putting in a more flexible regulation if Danish companies want to hire skilled and trained Indian labour.

Q: India and Denmark have shared concerns about repeated attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea.  In your view, how can India and Denmark collaborate more proactively in the security of the Red Sea?

A: First and foremost, I want to commend India for engaging so constructively in preventing these attacks on free navigation in the Red Sea. India has sent several naval ships to the region. We have done the same thing. We participate in Operation Prosperity Guardian. Bilaterally, we have strong cooperation and coordination with India in the Red Sea. We are a small country, but a big maritime nation. Both Denmark and India support freedom of navigation and the rules-based order. In my view, India is among a limited number of countries, which have taken visibly upon themselves the responsibility to ensure free navigation in the Red Sea. Denmark appreciates India’s commitment to freedom of navigation.

(Manish Chand, is CEO and Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and Director, Centre for Global India Insights, a think tank focused on global affairs.)


Author Profile

Manish Chand
Manish Chand
Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network ( and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.