Sweden PM pitches Gripen fighters in meet with Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven during a virtual summit on Friday. (ANI...Read More

NEW DELHI: Sweden made a determined pitch to sell the Gripen fighter aircraft to India during a

virtual summit

between PM

Narendra Modi

and his Swedish counterpart

Stefan Lofven

on Friday.
In an exclusive conversation with TOI after the summit, Lofven said the Swedish government was “100% behind the offer” by Saab to India. “I have just told

PM Modi

that the government is 100% behind this, we believe this is one of the best fighter aircraft there is in the world. We also know Saab offers huge potential for technology transfer. Because PM Modi is very keen on Make in India,” he said. This is the first time the Swedish PM has backed the Saab offer, throwing the weight of the government behind it.
Giving the example of Brazil, Lofven said, “They (Saab) have transferred knowledge and technology so that gradually, Brazil is now developing its own capacity to produce and maintain fighter aircraft. So, Brazil will become a new production country. India is being offered the same possibility. This is an exclusive offer to India. But it's up to India. We fully respect their process.”
Climate change, sustainable cities and smart transportation, all under the umbrella of

green development

, also featured in the virtual summit.
Lofven said, “We are developing a number of projects. One is sustainable cities, and that is for both India and Sweden. We had thought of it as a future project, but the future is here and now. Given that we both need it, we can offer technology and knowhow. In smart cities, we discussed the importance of transportation — we can transport people as well as goods and it needs to be climate-friendly. So too in aviation — India has huge ambitions to grow its aviation sector, but wants to do it in a climate friendly manner. In Sweden, we have the competence that we can share.”
The summit saw the two sides sign several agreements — an MoU between Airports Authority of India and Luftfartsverket (LFV Air Navigation Services of Sweden) concerning Aviation Knowledge Exchange and Technical Transfer Programme and an MoU between International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) and Finansinspectionen (Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority) for mutual cooperation to enhance cross-border participation and promote knowledge sharing.
Briefing journalists after the summit,

Vikas Swaroop

, secretary (west) in the MEA, said, “Relations between India and Sweden are based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, pluralism, equality, freedom of speech and respect for human rights. They (the two PMs) reaffirmed their strong commitment to work for multilateralism, rules-based international order, counter-terrorism, peace and security.”
Swaroop said Lofven announced Sweden’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance. “Welcoming the decision, PM Modi stated that Sweden’s expertise and experience in clean and renewable technologies would contribute significantly to the solar alliance and our collective efforts to meet the challenge of climate change,” he added.
Lofven told TOI the post-Covid world would need a different perspective. “We need to build back better and build back greener, keeping climate change in mind. So, the circular economy has become important. When we build back, we’re not going back to what was. We need to build something better. All our efforts to strengthen and get back economic growth, we need to have clear climate headlines,” he said.
The two leaders also discussed the developments in Myanmar, Lofven said. “We’re very concerned about the developments there in recent weeks. We also had a good dialogue on the UN and our mutual interest in peace and security, and we strongly believe in multilateral cooperation at least in these times. I appreciated the conversation,” he added.
Swaroop said India was monitoring the situation “closely”.
India and Sweden also agreed to restart dialogue between the national security advisers of both countries and cooperation between the two national security councils.

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