India and Sweden have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas such as elderly care, infection control, digitalization, non-communicable diseases, and start-ups.
The two countries held a virtual summit on Friday headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven.
"Excellent, productive virtual Sweden-India Summit w. @narendramodi. Launched joint projects on innovation, climate & health cooperation to fight the pandemic & build back stronger, greener & more equal societies. Discussed regional affairs & efforts to strengthen multilateralism," the Swedish Prime Minister tweeted.
According to the joint statement, the two leaders held a wide-ranging discussion during the summit. They welcomed the creation of a Sweden-India Health Hub at AIIMS-Jodhpur.
The Prime Ministers expressed their appreciation for the longstanding cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding on Health, which continued during the current pandemic.
"They agreed further to strengthen bilateral cooperation on thematic areas such as elderly care, infection control, digitalization, non-communicable diseases, and start-ups," the joint statement read.
"The two Prime Ministers welcomed the creation of a Sweden-India Health Hub at AIIMS-Jodhpur. They agreed that their respective Health Ministers may explore how this vision can be realized," it added.
PM Modi and Lofven welcomed the progress made in identifying specific areas of scientific collaboration in polar research such as joint research projects and participation in polar expeditions.
The two leaders encouraged Indian and Swedish space actors to identify specific areas for future collaboration and seek mutually beneficial partnerships between both public and private sector orgzations, according to the joint statement.
"The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, India and the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat will take this collaboration forward. They agreed further to intensify their collaboration within the framework of the Arctic Council to address global environmental protection and combating climate change," the statement read.
Prime Minister Modi invited Swedish defence firms to participate in the "Make in India programme", especially in the two Defence Production Corridors in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
The two Prime Ministers recognized the need to continue the strategic dialogue between the National Security Advisers and the National Security Council Secretariats for a deepened engagement on issues of mutual strategic interests, including cybersecurity.
They welcomed the upcoming India-EU+27 Leaders' Meeting in Portugal in May 2021 which will be a new milestone for India-EU Strategic Partnership. "The two leaders looked forward to enhancing India-EU economic partnership through progress in discussions for concluding trade and investment agreements," the statement read.
The summit was the latest of several interactions between the two leaders since they both first took office in 2014. In addition to their meetings, Sweden and India exchanged reciprocal State Visits in 2015 and 2019.
The two Prime Ministers noted that these regular high-level interactions provide momentum to a close bilateral partnership.
They underlined that the longstanding close relations between India and Sweden are based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, pluralism, equality, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights.
According to a joint statement, he Summit provided an opportunity to discuss the international situation and response to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as regional and global issues of mutual importance including climate action, sustainable development, gender equality, economic growth, international peace and security, a rules-based international order, counter-terrorism and disaster resilient infrastructure, among others.
The two leaders noted that the major areas of focus of the partnership are Innovation, Clean Technologies, Trade and Investments including R&D to enable a more sustainable future for our peoples.
Both countries are also cooperating in coordinating the response to global challenges such as climate change, noting their support for the UK and Italy as co-hosts of a successful COP26.
Prime Minister Lofven announced Sweden's decision to join the International Solar Alliance. "Prime Minister Modi welcomed the decision and stated that Sweden's expertise and experience in renewable energy and clean energy technologies will contribute significantly to the ISA and our collective efforts to meet the challenges related to climate change," the statement read.
India and Sweden have a long tradition of cooperating on environmental issues. The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the joint global initiative - the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) launched by the Prime Ministers during the UNSG Climate Action Summit in September 2019.
"LeadIT currently has 29 member states and industries that work towards accelerating the transition of all industry sectors to low carbon pathways in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, while pursuing efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The two Prime Ministers also invited the Group to develop a strategy for creating low carbon steel, cement, and concrete industries. They agreed that the Environment Ministers may explore how to strengthen the work in the group even further," the statement read.
( With inputs from ANI )
Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor