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PM Modi expected to attend first India-Nordic summit in Sweden

The India-Nordic summit will also spell the revival of the country’s ties with Denmark, which has been in a deep freeze after the Purulia arms drop case in December 1995.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2018 23:43 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Narendra Modi,Sweden,India-Nordic Summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to attend the Beating Retreat ceremony in New Delhi on January 29, 2018. (AFP)

After hosting the ASEAN commemorative summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the first India-Nordic summit at Stockholm in Sweden with an eye on attracting investment for his government’s ambitious “Make in India” campaign.

Modi will stop over for the summit en route to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on April 19-20. The proposed date for the Nordic summit is April 17 even though the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is yet to confirm it.

While the Modi government is tight-lipped about the Nordic Summit, the manufacture of the Swedish SAAB Grippen single-engine multi-role fighter in a unit in Andhra Pradesh, and with the full transfer of technology, is on top of the agenda.

This proposal was discussed at a meeting between Modi and Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of SEB group, which controls over 40% of the listed entities in Sweden, including SAAB.

Andhra Pradesh government representatives, including chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s confidante, Union minister of science and technology YS Chowdary, were present at the meeting that happened in New Delhi in November.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman is also scheduled to travel to Sweden in February, along with a delegation, to push the cause of light aircraft manufacturing in India under ‘Make in India’.

India is looking for a single engine fighter to replace vintage MiG-21 Bison and MiG-27 fighters.

The India-Nordic summit will also spell the revival of the country’s ties with Denmark, which have been in a deep freeze after the Purulia arms drop case in December 1995 and the extradition of the main accused Danish national Neils Holck aka Kim Peter Davy. The bilateral relations were brought back on the track with the launch of Air India’s direct flight to Copenhagen last September.

Senior MEA officials told HT that business and investment is the focus of the Nordic summit.

Meanwhile, India is set to assume a larger role in the 52-member Commonwealth post London meeting.

There is a strong possibility that part of the Commonwealth Secretariat could be shifted to India with an eye towards $800 billion intra-Commonwealth trade.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 23:43 IST