11th India-Finland Foreign Office Consultations held

Nov 24: The 11th round of Foreign Office Consultation between India and Finland was held on 23 November 2021 in Helsinki. The Indian side was led by Mrs Reenat Sandhu, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Finnish delegation was led by Mr. Matti Anttonen, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

India and Finland share warm and friendly relations underpinned by common values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights. The Virtual Summit held on 16 March 2021 between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sanna Marin has added a strong momentum to our bilateral relations.

The Foreign Office Consultations provided an opportunity to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including further strengthening of our partnership in diverse areas such as trade and investment, S&T, education, digitization, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, innovation, sustainable development, circular economy and renewable energy. Both sides reviewed the progress made since the Virtual Summit and also agreed to explore cooperation in new areas like vocational education, space, startups, health and pharmaceuticals.

Both sides noted that the presence of more than 100 Finnish companies in India and 30 Indian companies in Finland have made significant contribution to each other’s economies. The Indian side invited Finnish companies to contribute to the flagship initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, etc.

Both sides discussed the need for greater mobility between both countries, including movement of students and professionals. In this context, they expressed satisfaction on the recently concluded Air Bubble arrangement which will enable resumption of direct flights between India and Finland.

The two sides discussed the Covid-19 situation and the vaccination drive in both countries. Discussions also covered climate change and the 2030 SDG Agenda.

The Finnish side congratulated India on 75 years of India’s independence and conveyed that they looked forward to participating in the various events being organized to commemorate this momentous occasion.

Both sides exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest including Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific, India-EU Partnership, cooperation in the Arctic & Antarctic regions and COP-26. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation during their terms at UN Human Rights Council (2022-2024), and in other multilateral fora.

Secretary (West) also paid a courtesy call on H.E. Mr Pekka Havisto, Foreign Minister of Finland and discussed the positive trajectory in the bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and global issues.

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