Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 5
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday held a virtual conference with five ministers from Baltic countries as India continues with its drive to position itself in the centre as the world emerges from the Covid dislocation and Chinese aggression.
“Our gathering is intended to analyse the extraordinary challenges posed by the Covid pandemic and seriously examine whether the crisis can be turned into opportunity,” said Jaishankar at an interaction organised by the CII, which was also attended by select businessmen.
The participating ministers were from Finland, Iceland, Demark, Latvia and Estonia. Some of them, such as Estonia, are at odds with Russia, a close Indian ally, but all are acknowledged leaders in high-end manufacturing and innovation.
All ministers offered cooperation in fields their countries excelled in, but SAAB Chairman Marcus Wallenberg injected a note of realism by asking for a EU-India FTA as soon as possible to deepen trade linkages with the Nordic-Baltic region.
Jaishankar set out the areas where there is potential for more partnership such as renewable energy and clean technologies, factories of the future, AI and block chain-led transformation, supply chain and logistics and fin-tech. With a greater digital focus, India will also give more attention to its infrastructure as well as data and cyber security.
Denmark Minister Jeppe Sebastian Kofod suggested wind power, water, and infrastructure; Finland FM Ville Skinnari suggested 5G technology, quantum computing and AI; and Iceland Minister Thordis Gylfadottir highlighted converting greenhouse gases, utilising ocean resources to create nutritional supplements and medicines.