Sweden is one of the world’s oldest monarchies. Write a note on the areas of cooperation and their potential between India and Sweden.

Published: December 3, 2019

The diplomatic ties between India and Sweden date back to the year 1949. The two countries cooperate widely in regional and international and share an excellent relationship. 

Sweden supports India’s membership of the expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and has also extended its full support for India’s pending membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Political Relations :

India’s contact with Sweden began in 1957, when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited the country. PM Indira Gandhi visited Sweden for the UN Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm, 1972.  Pranab Mukherjee was the first head of state to visit Sweden in 2015 and it was a landmark visit which took the bilateral relationship to new heights. It was followed by the visit of the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to India in 2016. 

Economic ties : 

The Indo-Swedish Joint Commission for Economic, Industrial and Scientific Cooperation is the leading institutional mechanism of inter-governmental dialogue between India and Sweden.

India and Sweden agreed to reach the total trade of $5 billion by 2018. 

India is Sweden’s third largest trade partner after China and Japan in Asia and the 19th largest export market. Sweden’s exports to India include communication equipment, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and engineering products. India exports garments, textiles, food products, semi manufactured and manufactured goods.

Cultural and Educational Relations :

India’s rich culture , music, dance, art, literature, films and cuisine are widely appreciated in Sweden. Establishment of Chairs on India Studies at major Swedish Universities have given an impetus to the academic interest in India. There has also been tie ups between several Swedish and Indian universities and educational institutions have been regularly sending students to India for different programmes. 

In 2013, Indian Embassy along with several partners, created a platform called ‘India Unlimited’ to promote India-Sweden cultural and economic ties through a series of events which were aimed at highlighting current and future partnerships between the two countries while also  showcasing Indian culture and business opportunities.

In 2016, the theme and events were : Energy Collaboration – Smart Grid Pilot Projects; Reimagining India 2030; Defence & Security; Gender & Diversity; Smart Cities; Smart Manufacturing & Industrial Corridors; Life Science & Innovation; Sustainable Textiles; DigitalIndia & Innovation; and Indian Consumer. 

Indian Community in Sweden : 

The Indian diaspora in Sweden comprises of skilled professionals in IT companies, professors and research scholars in universities.  India has begun to dominate work migration into Sweden from outside EU and the number of Indians coming to Sweden for business and leisure has also gone up significantly in recent years.

The Nordic region shares some significant political and economic complementarities with India and also ranks among the top in various human development indices. A strong partnership with Sweden is not only desirable, but also an imperative of changing global realities.

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