The India Sweden Innovation Day 2020 themed at “The New Normal” was hosted recently by India Unlimited in association with Embassy of India in Sweden, Sweden-India Business Council and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Reportedly, the event was attended by over 500 participants from across the world.
The one-day virtual event brought together government officials, think tanks, institutions, prominent industrialists, as well as renowned company Presidents and CEOs from both Sweden and India to explore, identify and work together for shared prosperity. The speakers discussed ways to deepen bilateral ties between the two countries covering various sectors and actions needed to navigate this crisis and how to work together for creating a sustainable future for both countries. The speakers also deliberated on how the Sweden-India partnership in Technology-based solutions, in the 4th Industrial Revolution & Globalization can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Speaking on the occasion, HH Klas Molin, Ambassador of Sweden to India said, “The India Sweden Innovation Day highlights the important role of innovations, one of the absolute cornerstones of relations between Sweden and India. The innovation partnership between our countries has strengthened since its announcement in 2018. Both our governments have allocated funding for multi-million calls under our partnership. As a consequence, business links between our countries will continue to grow stronger and deeper, drawing us closer together and creating jobs and prosperity.”
“Research, innovation, commercialisation and export promotion of cleantech innovation is a cornerstone with our collaboration with India. The fact that we have some 50 companies being introduced to the Indian market should be seen as a success and we hope that we can deepen the collaboration in the future. The pandemic is truly troublesome and worrying in many ways but I am glad to see that private investors have increased during the pandemic and the new normal would be able to speed up the market introduction of clean energy innovations and create much deeper collaborations with the business community. The way forward is about cross-border collaborations to fight this pandemic and build on mobility and Sweden has been both bilaterally and internationally on the forefront;” said Robert Andren, Director General, Swedish Energy Agency.
During the event, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways congratulated the team for organising this seventh India Sweden Innovation Day 2020. He was quoted saying, “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Science & Technology, R&D, skills, knowledge, and conversation of knowledge into wealth is the future. The mutual cooperation, coordination and communication among the stakeholders in India and Sweden will strengthen, survive and grow in new normal. When it comes to innovation, both Sweden and India have a lot in common to share for their mutual good. There are immense opportunities that exist on the two sides and we need to identify those opportunities and promote them for each other’s benefit.”
The Minister also appreciated Sweden for being the fifth country in the world for India’s ‘Make in India’ mission and 22nd largest investor in India with the inflow of $1.63 billion.
Adding to this, Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change of India said, “We place great value on our bilateral partnership with Sweden, our ties go back a long way and have become stronger over the years. I am pleased to say that Sweden and India are working together for different global environmental issues including the industrial conditional leadership. As a responsible nation for the future; we want to be part of the solution, though we are not part of the problem. India has achieved its voluntary target of reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 21 per cent over 2005 levels by 2020 and is poised to achieve a 35% reduction well before the target year of 2030. In this very challenging point in history, it is very important that Sweden and India are upholding to their commitments and we must all work together to bring out a real change and that is what is needed.”
Sweden-India Business Council (SIBC) played a very important role in the event. SIBC is a country to country organisations. SIBC is the secretariat on the Swedish side for India Sweden Business Leaders’ Roundtable (ISBLRT). Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of SEB and SAAB, is the Co-chair of ISBLRT. On participating in India Sweden Innovation Day, Marcus shared, “Pleased to note that Swedish companies increasingly are looking to India for R&D, innovation and human capital. We have together entered an era of concrete collaboration and innovation partnerships.”
Leif Johansson, Chairman of AstraZeneca said, “I am very encouraged by the dynamic response to COVID-19 by Indian and Swedish innovators. Whether it is vaccine development, the novel point of care diagnostics, or new digitally-enabled interventions in chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart failure or cancer, it is clear that Indo-Swedish science-driven partnerships deliver progress and hope as we face this pandemic.”
Robin Sukhia, Sweden-India Business Council’s President and Secretary-General added, “We work with concrete structures to ensure progress in the initiatives we are engaged in, such as Sweden India Transport Innovation & Safety partnership (SITIS), Sweden India Tech Community (SITEC) and India Sweden Business Leaders’ Roundtable (ISBRLT), thus ensuring engagement from corporates, academia and government.”
During the closing session Sanjoo Malhotra, CEO India Unlimited said, “Innovation cooperation is the most important element in the bilateral relationship between India and Sweden, which is progressing well within the ambit of a joint innovation partnership. This is an ideal platform to make full use of Sweden and India’s complementary strengths for the mutual benefit of both countries.”
The other distinguished speakers included Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister and Hon Minister for Environment and Climate of Sweden, Ibrahim Baylan, Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation of Sweden, Peter Engberg, Vice President, Head of Traffic Management, Business Area Industrial Products and Services, SAAB, Micael Johansson, President & CEO, SAAB, Kamal Bali, President and MD Volvo Group India, Malini Agarwal, Co-founder and Creative Director, MissMalini Entertainment, Arati Davis, VP, Sweden-India Business Council, CP Gurnani, CEO and MD, Tech Mahindra, Leif Johansson, Chairman AstraZeneca & Cecilia Oldne, VP, Sweden-India Business Council who shared their perspective on how their Joint Leadership and Innovation can help in tackling other global crisis which is unfolding in parallel with the pandemic.
Looking forward, both sides discussed opportunities for new bilateral cooperation on shared strategic priorities such as sustainable development, start-ups, healthcare, transport etc. The event concluded with the vote of thanks to all the stakeholders for collaboration between the governments of Sweden and India based on a mutual commitment to drive prosperity and address global challenges.