India is the second most populous country in the world and is projected to be the third largest economy by 2030. India’s rapid economic growth is already having a significant impact globally. Trade and Innovation relations between Sweden and India have received a boost recently after a series of visits and trade missions between the two countries. These kinds of visits and events are crucial to generate ideas, bring people together and bridge the information gap.
Last week, we saw a high-level delegation comprising of Swedish government and business leaders in India for the 3rd India Sweden Business Leaders’ Round Table (ISBLRT) that took place in Delhi. The meeting was organized in partnership with India’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Sweden India Business Council and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren and Indian Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu highlighted India and Sweden’s strong partnership in trade and innovation.
The delegation was led by the Roundtable’s initiator and co-chair on the Swedish side, the Chairman of SEB, Marcus Wallenberg. Together with his Indian Co-chair, Baba Kalyani, Chairman and CEO of Bharat Forge, both gave excellent opening remarks sharing their vision of future collaboration and the work of ISBLRT.
The Business Leaders roundtable focused on four themes; Smart Cities, Skill India, Innovation and Digitalisation. In each, clear synergies were discussed between the two countries, and business. All working groups were seen to be interconnected and mutually beneficial.
The two governments have delivered their support by putting bilateral agreements such as Joint Declaration on Sweden-India Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future the in place to open cooperation with business allies. It is important to utilize these platforms and continue to build real business-to-business cases, with Swedish knowledge on successful unicorns, start-ups, clustering efficiency together with India’s speedy development in a well-developed start-up ecosystem and scability.
It was reported to the group that Vinnova and India’s Department of Science and Technology (implemented by GITA) will launch a joint call in 2019 for a bilateral industrial R&D programme in the priority areas for both countries. A digital platform proposal brought up at the session to connect Indian and Swedish Start-ups, is also in the pipeline. The business leaders reaffirmed their commitment to support the Sweden India Innovation Partnership.
Overall, all the participants were very positive about the outlook for the bilateral relationship. I firmly believe that the relationship between India and Sweden is a perfect match in terms of innovation and technology. Looking forward, I am positive that we will see a more intense and close collaboration in the months to come.