After initiating talks with the EU for a trade agreement, India has now started talks with non-EU countries such as Norway to boost trade and investment flows.
The Scandinavian country, which is not part of the European Union and hence outside the scope of the proposed India-EU bilateral trade and investment agreement, is also discussing a maritime agreement with India.
"We are looking forward to a bilateral trade pact and a maritime agreement with India. We hope to see an agreement in both these areas in the next few months," Norwegian Minister for Trade and Industry Dag Terje Andersen said in New Delhi.
Andersen, who is in New Delhi as part of the Norwegian delegation led by Crown Prince Haakon, said the two countries are also engaged in shipping.
At present, more than 30 ships were being built in India on orders by Norwegian companies, he said.
Endorsing his views on enhancing economic ties, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said India was in discussions with a few members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
"We have had some preliminary discussions with EFTA," he said, adding this was in addition to the trade pact with EU.
Nath said these bilateral and regional trading arrangements were not contradictory to the multilateral system under the WTO, but were only "building blocks".
India, he said, was working towards breaking the impasse in WTO talks and resuming negotiations so as to complete the Doha Round. However, he said developed nations such as the US must reduce farm subsidies that distort global trade.
In his address, Prince Haakon said the two countries can cooperate in various sectors such as energy, services, marine and tourism to enhance bilateral relationship.