India and Norway on Tuesday agreed to closely collaborate on ocean economy and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, while vowing to step up bilateral trade, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg. Modi and Solberg held delegation-level talks and discussed ways to give “new energy and direction” to bilateral ties.
The two countries also signed an MoU for holding an India-Norway Ocean Dialogue. Solberg, who arrived here Monday on her maiden India visit, was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this morning before talks with Modi. “We reviewed all areas of our cooperation, and discussed ways of giving new energy and direction to bilateral ties,” Modi said in his press statement after talks with Solberg.
He said they also had “fruitful discussions” on all aspects of ocean economy.
India and Norway have strong cooperation at the international level and both the countries coordinate closely on issues such as UN Security Council reforms, multi-lateral export control regimes and terrorism, Modi said. Talking about the Sustainable Development Goals, Modi said they were completely in consonance with India’s development goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption and peace and justice.
India and Norway are successfully cooperating in the field of mother and child health under the Norway-India partnership initiative, Modi said. “When I had met Prime Minister Solberg in the G-20 Summit in 2017, she gave me a football as a gift…The meaning of that was different. That football was not for the the goal that we have in the sport but was a symbol of Sustainable Development Goals,” Modi said.
Solberg, in her press statement, said given the importance of India’s economy and the size of its population, the world will not be able to reach the sustainable goals unless “India is on board”. “I have seen impressive improvements on the work done in India, especially on women’s empowerment,” she said. Solberg said she discussed with Prime Minister Modi ways to accelerate progress toward the sustainable development goals and steps to further ties.
Hailing India-Norway trade ties, Modi underlined that the Norway Government Pension Fund Global has made a portfolio investment of USD 12 billion. “I am confident that in the future, both in portfolio investment and foreign direct investment, Norwegian companies will make use of vast opportunities in India. Specifically under India’s Sagarmala programme, Norwegian companies will get a lot of opportunities in ship building, ports and port-led development,” he said.
Asserting that for India’s development and progress, the sector of ocean economy was very important, Modi said the bilateral ocean dialogue will give direction to cooperation in sectors related to the ocean economy. Solberg also said both Norway and India have agreed to intensify cooperation on issues relating to the seas.
The Norwegian prime minister said cooperation in the fields of energy, climate change and environment was also discussed in the meeting with her Indian counterpart. “As the world’s largest democracy, India plays an important role both regionally and globally. We had an open and constructive dialogue on how we can work more closely together to protect rules-based international governance.
“I think it is important that both big countries like India and smaller countries like Norway join forces and talk about multilateralism in times when there is increased protectionism,” she said.
The Norwegian government had recently announced a new strategy for engagement with India which is a testimony to how important Norway regards its relations with the country, Solberg said. “The partnership between our countries is moving in the positive direction,” she said.