Exploring Economic Cooperation Between India and the Nordic-Baltic Region

India’s global economic footprint has been expanding rapidly, and one region that holds immense potential for collaboration is the Nordic-Baltic region. Comprising countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, The Nordic Baltic Eight (NB8) is a innovation and technological powerhouse, while India, with its increasingly strong focus on technology, offers immense opportunities for partnerships. There is significant scope for future growth between the two geographies. 

For the Nordic countries, India represents a rapidly growing economy with a significantuntapped market. The region has been a focus for India in the last few years with several heads of state visits.

India’s need for greater market knowledge, information on specific procedures, compliance norms, and more can be met through the NB8 region. Nordic-Baltic investors are optimistic about India’s medium-term growth prospects. 

Economic Landscape

India, with its diverse and expanding economy, is actively seeking avenues for bilateral trade and investment. The Nordic-Baltic region, known for its robust economies, provides a lucrative market for Indian businesses. Recent data showcases a rise in Indian exports to these nations, particularly in sectors like information technology, pharmaceuticals, and textiles. Simultaneously, Indian markets are opening up to Nordic-Baltic products, fostering a two-way economic exchange.

Trade and Investment

Bilateral trade agreements and strategic investments are integral to strengthening economic ties. In recent years, trade between India and the Nordic-Baltic region has shown a positive trajectory. Indian companies are increasingly exploring investment opportunities in the Nordic-Baltic markets, drawn by the region’s technological advancements and innovation culture. Concurrently, Nordic-Baltic companies are recognizing India’s potential, contributing to a balanced exchange that augurs well for sustained growth.

As of the latest available data, foreign direct investment (FDI) between India and these nations has seen a notable uptick. India’s combined trade in goods with the NB8 countries is currently around USD 7.3 bn and the cumulative FDI received from Nordic countries between 2000 to 2023 was USD 4.69 billion.

Indian companies are increasingly investing in Nordic-Baltic markets, drawn by the region’s stability and advanced infrastructure. Similarly, Nordic-Baltic companies are establishing a presence in India to tap into its vast market potential. The presence of over 700 Nordic companies in India and close to 150 Indian companies in the Nordic-Baltic region showcases the bilateral investment and trade partnerships.

Key focus segments for collaboration between India and the Nordic-Baltic region includes:

Food Processing and Sustainability

Focus on transforming food systems towards sustainability by sharing experiences, innovations and best practices between India and the Nordic-Baltic nations has been a key agenda in various bilateral and multilateral forums. Nordic-Baltic countries have a thriving food processing sector and can work in India in the areas like cold chain and warehousing,including port facilities; modern irrigation models that save water while increasingproductivity; agri-tech and agri startups; food waste minimisation; precision agriculture; training and skill development of farmers and working with Farmer-Producer Organisations to provide technology and inputs.

Blue Economy and Maritime Cooperation

There is an emphasis on efficiently managing the Blue Economy to enhance global supply chain resilience between the two regions. The Government of India’s vision of New Indiahighlights the blue economy as one of the ten core dimensions of growth. Efforts are underway to promote sustainable marine practices, encourage innovation, and foster greater maritime cooperation between India and the Nordic-Baltic countries.

Renewable Energy Integration

Deliberations are currently centred around Renewable Energy Integration, particularly India’s push for the integration of renewable energy. These discussions involve identifying resources, policy support, energy storage and advanced technology initiatives. The aim is to seek support from innovative Nordic-Baltic economies in identifying and implementing clean energy-related technologies.

Transition to Industry 5.0

Efforts are being made to leverage advanced technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT and smart manufacturing to enhance productivity and efficiency in the manufacturing sector. The ongoing aim is to explore how cooperation between India and the Nordic-Baltic nations can contribute to India’s goal of becoming a developed nation by 2047.

Green Financing for Climate Action

Highlighting the significance of climate finance in achieving green and sustainable transitions, discussions are exploring strategies and solutions to drive funding and investments, fostering greater collaboration between India and the Nordic-Baltic countries in advancing climate action.

Information Technology and AI Collaboration

In the domain of Information Technology and AI Collaboration, there is a current emphasis on exploring potential areas of cooperation between India and the Nordic-Baltic countries in leveraging IT and AI to address complex societal challenges. Skill development initiatives are also being discussed to enable inclusive AI and IT growth.

Resilient Supply Chain and Logistics

Discussions around Resilient Supply Chain and Logistics are currently revolving around the need to build efficient and resilient supply chains, aligning with India’s Logistics Policy. The ongoing conclave aims to explore how India and the Nordic-Baltic countries could collaborate to strengthen global value chains using technological advancements.

The Future of Cooperation Between the Regions

The collaboration between India and the Baltic region spans across various sectors and holds immense promise for fostering economic growth and addressing global challenges. Bothregions are aligning efforts with the principles of Agenda 2030 to contribute to the multilateral system and exemplify a holistic approach to sustainability.

Recognizing the potential of enhancing economic ties between India and the Nordic-Balticnations, the first edition of the CII India-Nordic-Baltic Conclave was conceptualised to bring together key stakeholders.

It is worth noting that strong cooperation between India and the Nordic countries can help boost innovations, economic growth, sustainable solutions, and mutually beneficial trade and investments.

To know more download the CII report on “India and Nordic-Baltic EconomicCooperation: Shaping Synergies”

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