King Carl XVI Gustaf Folke Hubertus and Queen Silvia Renate Sommerlath of Sweden paid a 5-day official visit to India from December 2-6,2019 at the invitation of President Ram Nath Kovind. They were received by Member of Parliament(MP) Babul Supriyo at the New Delhi airport. This is the 3rd time they both have visited India. Earlier they visited in the year 1993 and 2005.The visit in detail are as follows:India signed 3 agreements with Sweden:
On December 2, 2019 India and Sweden signed 3 agreements/ Memorandum of Understandings (MoU). The MoUs are as follows,
- Cooperation between the Department of Science and Technology(DST) of India and the Swedish Energy Agency.
- MoU between the Ministry of Earth Sciences(MoES) of India and the Ministry of education and research of Sweden on cooperation of polar science.
- Mou on promoting safety of the maritime environment. Under this MoU, seafarer certificates will be recognised pursuant to Regulation I/10 of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch. It is the 1st first maritime cooperation agreement between these two nations.
Inauguration of sewage plant at Haridwar’s Sarai village in Uttarakhand:
The king and queen of Sweden inaugurated the 14 MLD (megalitres per day) Sewage Treatment Plant(STP) Sarai village in Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
Sarai treatment plant: The Sarai treatment plant is the 1st plant completed under Hybrid Annuity (HAM) Based Public Private Partnership Model and the cost was about Rs 41.40 crores. The plant is based on aerobic biological process, Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) process.
- These types of processes are capable of removing nutrients during treatment and will also be 100% ecofriendly.
- Under the HAM project the plant will be treated for about 15 years upto 2035 by the same developer for efficient performance
i.Pollution in Ganga: The Ganga river is polluted mainly due to municipals sewage. 150 sewage projects at cost more than Rs. 23,000 crores (more than $3 billion) are tackling the pollution in the ganga river and this Sarai treatment plant would also be a part of the pollution reduction in the river.
- To improve the quality of ganga water, 34 Projects of Sewerage infrastructure works have been taken up at a cost of approximately Rs. 1,144.77 crores for creating treatment capacity of 165.50 MLD.
ii.Other projects: In addition to the above projects, several other projects have also been taken up in Uttarakhand for several Ghats, River Front Development (RFD), Afforestation, Trash Skimmers etc.
iii.Members present: During the event, Uttarakhand Chief Minister(CM) Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat; Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat; Dr. Maja Fjaestad, Secretary of State of Sweden; Mr. KlasMolin, Ambassador of Sweden to India, Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General(DG) of National Mission for Clean Ganga, and Ms. Monika KapilMohta, Ambassador of India to Sweden and other officials were present.
India & Sweden to set up healthcare centre:
India and Sweden announced to set up a healthcare innovation centre to promote research on non- communicable diseases and also help Indian start-ups in the health sector. The year 2019 also marks 10 years of India-Sweden cooperation in healthcare. The decision to set up health care innovation centres was taken by AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) Delhi; AIIMS- Jodhpur(Rajasthan), and the Swedish Trade Commissioner’s Office in Delhi.
- MoI Signed: A Memorandum of Intent (MoI) was signed by AIIMS Delhi finance director Randeep Guleria, AIIMS Jodhpur Director Sanjeev Misra and Swedish Trade Commissioner in New Delhi Anders Wickberg to set up the health care innovation centre.
i.Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare(MoH&FW) Harsh Vardhan, Minister of State(MoS) for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and Swedish State Secretary to the Minister for Health and Social Affairs Maja Fjaestad were present during the signing of the MoI.
India-Sweden Business Summit held in New Delhi:
The ‘India-Sweden Business Summit’ was organised by Business Sweden inorder to strengthen the bilateral ties between both the nations.
- The summit has 3 panel sessions and various key imperatives on growth of Indian economy such as manufacturing competitiveness and innovation were discussed.
- The India-Sweden Business summit is a part of the ongoing Sweden India Sambandh, that promotes India Sweden ties and relationships.
- Members present: Indian Finance Minister(FM) Nirmala Sitharaman; Babasaheb Neelkanth Kalyani, Chairman of CII’s (Confederation of Indian Industry’s) National Committee on Defence, President and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Business Sweden, Ylva Berg; Swedish govt. Agencies and universities and other officials were present.
Rs 1 lakh crore invest in infrastructure sector in five years planned:
During the India-Sweden Business Summit, the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced Indian govt’s aim to invest about Rs 1 lakh crores in the infrastructure sector in the next five years.
- Govt’s various initiatives to boost investment like corporate tax rate cut of almost 10% was discussed.
India & Sweden to work together on AI in New Delhi:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the Swedish king and queen inaugurated the India-Sweden High-Level Dialogue on innovation policy in areas such as digital health, artificial intelligence (AI), future mobility and circular economy.
- Swedish companies: Top Swedish companies such as Ikea, Tetrapak and Ericsson are part of the Swedish business delegation.
- The India-Swedish Collaborative Industrial Research Development Programme(IRDP) in the area of smart grids and the `joint call’ in the area of digital health will be announced for joint proposals in 2020.
- A bilateral project to convert agriculture waste to bio-coal was announced on the occasion. The project would be established by the support of the office of Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government at National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute(NABI) Mohali, Punjab in partnership with Bioendev, Sweden.
Sweden to help India in building climate neutral smart city in Haryana:
The Swedish companies announced to help India in building climate neutral smart city in Gurgaon, Haryana.
M3M, a Gurgaon based developer signed an agreement with the Swedish company to develop 165-acre smart city project. The project would attract $ 2 billion.
- The key focus areas of the smart city will be inclusive growth and climate resilience and mitigation. It will also focus on water conservation, reusability and 100% waste recycling.
- The smart city development will be in-line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDG) and the Paris Agreement.
- The smart city will take 7-10 years to complete and will also look for foreign investments.
Meet with various leaders:
i.Meet with EAM Jaishankar: The Swedish king and queen met External Affairs Minister(EAM) Shri Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and held bilateral level talks.
ii.Meet with PM Modi: The Swedish couple met Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the India-Sweden High-Level Dialogue on Innovation Policy in New Delhi.
iii.Meet with environment activist Ridhima Pandey: The king and queen met 11-year-old environment activist Ridhima Pandey in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. Pandey was one among the 16 children who has filed complaint to protest the lack of government action on the climate crisis at the United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit in NewYork, United States(US) in September 2019.
- She made headlines when she filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal(NGT) against the government for failing to take action on climate change.
Visit to Jama Masjid & Red Fort: The Royal couple visited Jama Masjid and Red Fort in New Delhi.
Visit to Corbett tiger reserve: The Swedish king and queen visited corbett tiger reserve in Uttarakhand and also visited Van Gujjar settlement in Pattharkuan area of the state. Van Gujjars are nomadic buffalo-herders inhabiting the foothills of Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Visit to Ram Jhula Bridge: The King and Queen then visited the Ram Jhula Bridge in Rishikesh and Bathing Ghat in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. On their arrival to Uttarakhand, they were received by Uttarakhand’s Protocol Minister Dhan Singh Rawat at the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun(Uttarakhand).
Visit to Mumbai: Swedish royal couple took part in the cleanliness drive at Mumbai’s Versova Beach, Maharashtra. The King and queen were accompanied by climate activist and lawyer Afroz Shah. He started the Versova Beach cleaning drive in 2017 and it became the world’s largest beach clean-up project.
Currency- Swedish krona.
Governor- Baby Rani Maurya.
National Parks(NP)- Jim Corbett NP, Rajaji NP, Valley of flowers NP, Nanda Devi NP, Nanda Devi NP, Govind Pashu Vihar NP and sanctuary.