Indian PM Modi in Sweden for first India-Nordic summit

"Be it Africa or small Pacific countries, or ASEAN or Europe or Asia, all of them are looking at India as a trusted friend", he said.

The two countries also signed and exchanged a document on "Joint Innovation Partnership" and announced the adoption of a joint action plan. This will cover Start Ups, investments as well as renewable energy, urban transport and other such issues.

"In the area of defence, Sweden has been a partner of India for a very long time and I am sure that in the future as well, we will find more opportunities for cooperation, in particular in the area of defence production", Modi told reporters.

At the press conference in Stockholm, Swedish PM Stefan Lofven commended the Indian government and its strong focus on innovation as a key to progress and prosperity. He also thanked the Swedish prime minister and the people of Sweden for their warm welcome.

"We are not against the Prime Minister, quite the contrary: we are welcoming him...we are exercising our democratic right to send in a question".

The two leaders had a "fruitful discussion on issues related to cooperation in innovation, trade & investment, culture and exchanged views on regional and multilateral cooperation at the delegation-level talks", External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

The two leaders also met the leaders of top Swedish businesses.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi, who is on his maiden trip to Sweden, called on Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf.

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Modi is arriving late this evening in the United Kingdom and will embark upon a packed day of bilateral engagements with British Prime Minister Theresa May and the royal family tomorrow before going into formal multilateral discussions as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later in the week.

Swedish Prime Minister Lofven received PM Modi at the airport.

In a special gesture, both the Prime Ministers travelled in same auto from the airport to the hotel.

Modi and the leaders of the five Nordic countries participated in the first India-Nordic Summit co-hosted by India and Sweden here.

The partnership covers several areas, including smart cities, transportation and eMobility, energy, clean technologies, new materials, space, circular and bio-based economy, and health and life sciences.

PM Modi will hold a series of bilateral meetings with the counterparts of other Nordic countries such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

In London, thousands of protestors - Kashmiris and Indian origin Sikhs, Christians and Dalits - are expected to reach Parliament Square for a noisy protest against Modi on 18 April when Modi will hold bilateral meetings and will also address a Diaspora event at Central Hall Westminster.

While returning from Britain on April 20, he will stop over in Germany where he will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • Megan Austin