India-Sweden: Enduring Partnership

The Indian Swedish relationship has scaled to another level with delegation visits and joint business platforms

November 3, 2017

India and Sweden are putting together a strategy to take their successful bilateral partnership to the next level

Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had organised Make In India: Sweden 2017 in Stockholm on October 12-13, 2017

The meetings culminated signing a memorandum of understanding to form Sweden India Startup Sambandh (SISS)

Previously, India and Sweden have signed several successful MoUs in a number of areas

India and Sweden are putting together a strategy to take their successful bilateral partnership to the next level. New energy was invested in the relationship following Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu’s visit to Sweden in mid-October this year, as the leader of an official delegation, which included Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), an integral part of the Commerce and Industry ministry, had organised Make In India: Sweden 2017 in Stockholm on October 12-13, 2017, to upgrade the existing India-Sweden partnership and to explore new areas of cooperation. The Commerce and Industry Minister and his accompanying delegation also held a bilateral meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. The India Sweden Business Leaders’ Roundtable held its second meeting on the occasion of Make In India: Sweden 2017, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Lofven, who was accompanied by nine ministers.

These meetings are expected to provide a fresh impetus to not just the India-Sweden relationship but also translate into fresh investments under the broad rubric of Make In India.

Currently, there are more than 185 Swedish companies operating in India, employing 185,000 people directly and 13,00,000 indirectly

Swedish businesses have been present in India for over 100 years; currently, there are more than 185 Swedish companies operating in India, employing 185,000 people directly and 13,00,000 indirectly. During April 2000 to December 2016, the highest contributors to foreign direct investment among Swedish companies were Volvo, ABB, Atlas Copco, Ericsson, Alfa Laval, SAAB, Autoliv, Sapa (aluminium solutions), Astra Pharmaceuticals, Electrolux, Quinn Hotels Sweden, Scania, Perstorp, H&M, IKEA, Recipharm and Securitas.

The 2016-17 edition of the annual business climate survey–conducted by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India jointly with Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi, Consulate of Sweden in Mumbai and Business Sweden among Swedish companies operating in India–shows encouraging signs. Among the companies surveyed, 65 per cent perceive the current business climate as favourable (against only 15 per cent in 2013), 32 per cent neutral (45 per cent) and 3 per cent unfavourable (40 per cent). While 8 out of 10 companies reported they had invested as per their plans (or even more than projected), a similar percentage also revealed they planned to shore up their investments.

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The meetings culminated in Invest India (which facilitates investments into India) signing a memorandum of understanding with Founders Alliance, a Swedish grouping of leading entrepreneurs, to form Sweden India Startup Sambandh. This platform will look to foster a favourable business environment and provide guidance to startups in both countries. Specifically, SISS will provide Swedish entrepreneurs with comprehensive guides to doing business in India (which include, among other things, information on visa and tax systems), as well as handhold and introduce Swedish entrants to the Indian start-up ecosystem and its stakeholders.

India and Sweden have, in the past, signed a string of successful MoUs in a number of areas: healthcare; micro, small and medium enterprises; sustainable urban development; intellectual property rights; energy; and, space. For example, the agreement in healthcare has resulted in a spate of collaborations between pharmaceutical companies in both nations: India’s leading pharma company Cipla has tied up with Meda, a Swedish generics manufacturer, to jointly work on clinical development, trials, registration, formulation, marketing and sales of designated generic molecules. The other Indian pharmaceutical companies, which have also tied up with Swedish companies include Biocon, SunPharma, Cadila and Kemwell.

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