Norway launches its new strategy for India, stressing on business, research, education, transfer of technology and health, said Norwegian Ambassador Ms Ann Ollestad in an exclusive with HT.
"This is a long term strategy. While it is more or less the same as before, we now have a lot more tools in the box", she said.
The European Kingdom are investing $4 billion of the Norwegian Pension Fund into India as shares in around 230 Indian companies, all aimed at long term growth. They also recognize India as a strategic world player and hope for a greater systematic political dialogue with them.
"The political scenarios of the two countries are very similar. We have also just had an election and the two leaders know each other very well. Chidambaram who is also in the new Indian government has previously visited Norway and helped aid the process of a yearly discussion between the financial ministers of the two countries," said Ms Ollestad, adding that this was a 'good background' for a renewed Norway - India partnership.
The Norwegian strategy for India includes few changes since their prior 2005 plan. Norway is incorporating $40 - 50 million to help link with India for greater research. They are also aiding the electrification of around 30 Indian villages through solar power technology.
With India's Millennium Development Goals in mind, Norway has through the UN systems of UNICEF, WHO and UNOPS along with the Indian government launched a program in five Indian states, to help reduce child mortality. One of their innovative methods of doing this is by providing all new and existing managers in the states with management skills training through the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Some of their other initiatives in the Indian shipping sector include the building of around 50 vessels with Norwegian technology as well as their focus on 'green shipping'.
In response to a possible military partnership between the two countries, the Ambassador said that while they are currently initiating security policy dialogues with India on their collaboration with peace keeping, Norway's competence in higher altitudes slates it as a definite possibility at a later time.
"Maybe at a later stage we will, but as of now we are not going into it," she said.