Wednesday, 25 May, 2022
HomeDiplomacyMed-tech, fintech, gaming, defence could drive future India-Sweden trade, says business council

Med-tech, fintech, gaming, defence could drive future India-Sweden trade, says business council

A survey released last week says Swedish firms plan to invest $1 billion in India over the next two years. From 2015-20, firms already invested a total of $2 billion in India.

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New Delhi: With Swedish companies planning to invest close to $1 billion in India over the next two years, future trade between the two countries may be marked by med-tech, fin-tech, gaming and even defence, according to the Sweden-India Business Council (SIBC).

SIBC, which runs executive roundtables and workshops for startups, SMEs, large enterprises and public institutions, is a knowledge council between Sweden and India.

According to the 13th Business Climate Survey — conducted annually by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India, the Embassy of Sweden in India, the Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai and Business Sweden — Swedish firms plan to invest $1 billion in India over the next two years. From 2015-20, firms already invested a total of $2 billion in India, said the survey, which was released last week.

Asked what areas are critical to the India-Sweden trade relationship, SIBC president Robin Sukhia said in an email interview to ThePrint: “We see growth in med-tech, fin-tech, and gaming. And we see considerable potential in defence.”

In June, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh invited leading Swedish defence firms to set up manufacturing bases in India. He added that firms like SAAB AB, which exports the JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet, already have a presence in India and other Swedish companies should also look at it as a major investment destination for defence manufacturing.

There are over 220 Swedish firms in India and about 60 Indian companies in Sweden, with the latter sometimes viewed as a test market for the larger EU, Sukhia said. 

In sectors like aerospace, Sweden and India’s cooperation is in nascent stages. “It had a slow start but is now making up for lost time, considerable interaction is ongoing between the Swedish Space Corporation and ISRO, we are happy to support such initiatives and add the startup element,” Sukhia added.


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Boosting trade through initiatives like ‘Time For India’

Since establishing diplomatic ties with Sweden in 1949, India has become its third largest trading partner in Asia after China and Japan. In 2009-10, bilateral trade between India and Sweden crossed $2 billion. The Ministry of External Affairs estimated in 2013 that trade is poised to cross the $3 billion mark.

According to data from the Indian commerce ministry, however, there has been a decline in total trade over the last four years. Total trade stood at $2.2 billion in 2017-18, $2.1 billion in 2018-19, $1.8 billion in 2019-20 and $1.7 billion in 2020-21.

Asked how New Delhi and Stockholm plan to address this and boost trade, Sukhia said political relationships between the two countries have seen an upswing in the last few years and the two share common objectives in the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) — a body that India and Sweden launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019 and is supported by the World Economic Forum.

“Covid-19 has highlighted the challenges of supply chains and logistics, and industry on both sides is making the changes to pivot effectively and sustainably,” he added.

A week-long trade promotion event, called ‘Time For India’, will take place in four Swedish cities from 8-11 November. Sweden’s Ambassador to India Klas Molin, Consul General of Sweden to Mumbai Anna Lekvall and other high-level dignitaries will attend.

(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)


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