January 09, 2019
Prime Minister Erna Solberg,
All the distinguished guests visiting India from Norway,
Last year when I met Prime Minister Solberg in Stockholm, I invited her to visit India and I am delighted that today I got the opportunity to welcome her in India.
This is the first visit of Prime Minister of Norway to India and this is also special because today she will be addressing the inaugural session of Raisina Dialogue. For this I offer my heartfelt gratitude to her.
When I met Prime Minister Solberg in 2017 in connection with the G20 Summit then she had gifted a football to me. Please note that last year’s Golden ball was awarded to Norway’s Ada Hegerberg and for this I heartily congratulate Norway.
But the football that was gifted to me by Prime Minister actually had an entirely different context. That football did not represent the goal of soccer game, it actually represented the goals of Sustainable Development.
Prime Minister Solberg has given much encouragement to global efforts towards achieving sustainable development goals.
In this visit Prime Minister Solberg has also inaugurated Norway's new Green Embassy in India. And so if we talk about her global efforts any amount of praise will fall short.
Sustainable Development Goals are also totally in congruence with the development goals of India. And it is a matter of happiness for us that both the countries are collaborating successfully on the subject of mother and child health through "Norway-India Partnership Initiative."
Trade and investment are important in the relations between India and Norway. Norway's Government Pension Fund Global has made a portfolio investment of about $12 billion in India. I am glad that representatives of more than 100 companies from Norway have come to India along with the Prime Minister.
They also had a useful interaction with India's business leaders during yesterday's India-Norway Business Summit. I am confident that in the coming years, Norway's companies will benefit from India's immense potential both in Portfolio Investment and Foreign Direct Investment. In particular there are many opportunities coming up for Norwegian companies in ship-building, ports and port-led development under the ‘Sagarmala Program.’
Ocean Economy is a subject which is also related to this. This sector is extremely important for India's development and prosperity. About 15% of India's population lives in coastal districts. In a way their life is directly related to the Ocean Economy. And if we look at it indirectly then the population of India's coastal states is more than 500 million. And you can imagine Norway's expertize on the subject of the Ocean Economy from the fact that 70% of Norway's export is from Norway's maritime industry. And therefore, I am happy that in this important sector today we have added a new dimension of cooperation in our relations. Our bilateral Ocean Dialogue will give direction to our cooperation in all the sectors related to this area.
India and Norway have very strong cooperation on the international forums too. There are many topics like the UN Security Council Reforms, Multi-Lateral Export Control Regimes, and Terrorism, on which we both work with very close cooperation and coordination. Today we reviewed all the areas of our cooperation, and discussed in detail ways and means to give them directions and energize them.
You accepted my invitation to visit India, for that, I once again express my gratitude with my heart. We are all very excited to hear your address in Raisina Dialogue this evening. I hope that your visit to India will be very pleasant and successful.
January 08, 2019