Finland’s India Action Plan: India has never been so close
Finland’s new India Action Plan strives to expand cooperation in various sectors and encourages companies to take advantage of India’s growing business opportunities. India’s international role has become stronger and the country has enormous economic potential.
Relations between Finland and India have diversified considerably in the past decade. Finland's new India Action Plan charts cooperation in various sectors and sets goals for its expansion in future. At the same time, there is the wish to encourage Finnish companies to capitalise on India’s growing business opportunities.
According to Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, who presented the action plan, Finland and India have never before been so close to each other. Finnair’s direct flight to Delhi takes only 6.5 hours and has meant appreciable increases both in tourism and in contacts of all sorts.
In 2011, India rose to become Finland’s third largest trading partner in Asia, after China and Japan. Last year, however, saw a slump in trade. The importance of India to Finland is many times greater than trade statistics when one considers the trade in services between the two countries, investments from Finland to India as well as Finnish companies’ production operations situated in India. In addition, Finnish companies operating in India engage in trade with third countries.
Although the level of trade is still modest in relation to its potential, 120 Finnish companies already operate in India and another 100 trade with Indian companies. Finland, in turn, is the domicile of 24 Indian-owned companies.
Environmental technology offers considerable opportunities for cooperation
Mutual increases in trade and investments, however, are not the only goal. According to Foreign Minister Tuomioja, Finland also wants to deepen scientific, technological and innovation cooperation as well as cooperation in foreign and security policy. Indians have for their part been very interested in the Finnish vocational education and training system.
In his comments, Ambassador Aladiyan Manickam, India’s Ambassador to Finland, stated that Finland is well known in India, in particular thanks to Nokia and Kone. During the years he has spent in Finland, Ambassador Manickam has focused on the promotion of trade. At present he sees the greatest potential for environmental technology. India’s needs in solutions for energy efficiency and energy conservation, waste treatment, water purification, biofuels and environmental measurement technology are increasing continuously.
Finland’s India Action Plan was launched at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 18 April 2013. Similar action plans have previously been prepared with regard to China, Russia, the United States, Canada and Latin America.