Finland and India: A Growing Partnership Rooted in Innovation
The relationship between India and Finland is as old as independent India herself. Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1949, both the nations have enjoyed a friendly partnership based on shared values of democracy, human rights and rule of law. This partnership has been enhanced by significant cooperation in the fields of trade, the economy, science and innovation.
The Indo-Finnish collaboration has been augmented through various Finnish state leadership’s high-level visits to India as well as large delegations from India to Finland. Most recently, India’s Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited Finland in the Autumn of 2019, which was followed by the visits of Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto’s and Minister of Labour Timo Harakka’s visits to India in late 2019. Despite the pandemic, the two countries continued the dialogue and investments. In March 2021, a virtual Bilateral Summit was held between Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Hon’ble Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin to improve the existing socio-political relations as well as build on the digital ecosystems of the two countries. Finally, the reception hosted by the Finnish Ambassador in India, marking its national day was attended by the Indian Minister of State, Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi.
These diplomatic exchanges and agreements have culminated in strong bilateral relations and a well-established trade corridor between India and Finland. Bilateral trade currently stands at $ 687 Mn in 2020-21, with exports to Finland accounting for about $ 292 Mn and imports from Finland at $ 395 Mn. Finland is also the 37th largest FDI investor, with cumulative FDI at $ 518 Mn as of June 2021. Currently, there are over 100 large Finnish companies in India and over 35 large Indian companies in Finland. While Finnish companies work across various sectors such as engineering, textiles, and energy, Finland is most active in the software and consultancy sector – a huge export of the Indian economy.
Most notably, Finnish companies like Kone, Ahlstrom, Wartsila and Nokia have significant presence in India. Recently, Wartsila announced that it will develop the re-gasification system for a new offshore terminal in the Bay of Bengal. As of March 2021, Kone Elevators India have developed the world’s first digitally connected elevators. The Finnish telecom giant Nokia, an approved applicant for the Production-Linked Incentives (PLI) Scheme, is also expected to partner with local players in India to manufacture domestically and offset imports of huge telecom gear worth $ 6.6 Bn.
India and Finland both possess key competencies in the sustainability, technology, innovation, and healthcare/pharmaceuticals areas. Recently, the countries announced an ambitious digital partnership that focuses on future Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and plans to build upon the existing digital Indian and Finnish ecosystems.
Further still, with 2400+ startups, 10+ Innovation Hubs, and 80+ accelerators, the Finnish startup ecosystem is booming. In conjunction, India also boasts of the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world with over 20,000+ startups, 280+ accelerators/incubators, and 70+ Unicorn startups with a valuation of over $ 245 Bn. These vibrant ecosystems of Finland & India are recognized globally for their innovations and are constantly evolving to bring the best new-age innovations and developments to the forefront.
In addition to startups and innovation, Finland has also placed considerable emphasis on green growth and sustainability, much like its Nordic neighbors. At the Virtual Bilateral Summit in March 2021, both Prime announced a sustainability partnership involving renewable and clean energy, circular economy, and sustainable mobility and noted the importance of green growth in bilateral cooperation. Given the strengths of the two countries and their commitment to carbon neutrality and a fossil-free advanced economy, India and Finland have mutual interest in solidifying their partnership within sustainability.
Now, on Finland’s National Day on December 6, 2021, the country’s biggest national holiday, Invest India is excited to bolster the rich relationship between the two countries. The team extends their warmest greetings and wish everyone in Finland good health and happiness with great progress and prosperity!