India, Norway to closely collaborate on SDGs, ocean economy, combating terror

New Delhi, Jan 9: India and Norway on Tuesday agreed to closely collaborate on ocean economy and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, while also vowing to step up cooperation in combating terrorism, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg.

                Modi and Solberg held delegation-level talks and discussed ways to give “new energy and direction” to bilateral ties.

                The two countries also signed an MoU for holding an India-Norway Ocean Dialogue and decided to establish a joint task force on blue economy.

                Solberg, who arrived here Monday on her maiden India visit, was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this morning before talks with Modi.

                “We reviewed all areas of our cooperation, and discussed ways of giving new energy and direction to bilateral ties,” Modi said in his press statement after the talks.

                India and Norway have strong cooperation at the international level and both the countries coordinate closely on issues such as UN Security Council reforms, multi-lateral export control regimes and terrorism, Modi said.

                The two sides stressed the need for reform of the UN, including of the UN Security Council, and its expansion in both permanent and non-permanent seats to make it more representative, accountable, effective and responsive to the realities of the 21st century, a joint statement released after the talks said.

                Norway agreed that India is a strong candidate for a permanent seat in a reformed Security Council expanded with both permanent and non-permanent members, it said.

                Norway also supported India’s application for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group and reaffirmed its commitment to work constructively within the elite nuclear trading group with the aim of reaching a positive outcome regarding Indian membership at the earliest opportunity.

                During the talks, the two sides strongly condemned terrorism in all forms and manifestations, and agreed to cooperate in combating international terrorism.

                They also urged the international community to work towards early finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism mooted by India at the UN, the statement said.

                Solberg, in her press statement, said given the importance of India’s economy and the size of its population, the world will not be able to reach the sustainable goals unless “India is on board”.

                “I have seen impressive improvements on the work done in India, especially on women’s empowerment,” she said.

                Talking about the Sustainable Development Goals, Modi said they were completely in consonance with India’s development goals.

                The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption and peace and justice.

                India and Norway are successfully cooperating in the field of mother and child health under the Norway-India partnership initiative, Modi said.

                “When I had met Prime Minister Solberg in the G-20 Summit in 2017, she gave me a football as a gift…The meaning of that was different. That football was not for the goal that we have in the sport but was a symbol of Sustainable Development Goals,” Modi said.

                In her remarks, Solberg said she discussed with Prime Minister Modi ways to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and steps to further ties.

                The two leaders expressed desire to work together for realising SDGs, including poverty, health, education, women’s empowerment, clean energy and sustainable use of ocean resources, the statement said.

                Hailing India-Norway trade ties, Modi underlined that the Norway Government Pension Fund Global has made a portfolio investment of USD 12 billion.

                “I am confident that in the future, both in portfolio investment and foreign direct investment, Norwegian companies will make use of vast opportunities in India. Specifically under India’s Sagarmala programme, Norwegian companies will get a lot of opportunities in ship building, ports and port-led development,” he said.

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