The countries India and Sweden launch a joint venture that will address the challenges surrounding smart cities and clean technologies. The venture was partly funded by the Indian Department of Science and Technology along with the Swedish Agency Vinnova.  Funding up to 2,500,000 Swedish Krona (around Rs 1.87 crore) will be provided to Swedish participants as a grant by Vinnova. On the Indian side, a conditional grant of up to 50 per cent (with a limit of Rs 1.5 crore) per project will be provided to the Indian partners.

Klas Molin, the Ambassador of Sweden to India quoted that the programme will see Indian and Swedish innovators work together for developing smart solutions which benefit all. He further added, India, with its immense talent pool and scale will play a pivotal role in developing solutions that can deal with challenges pertaining to healthcare, transportation and public safety. “We are looking at deepening cooperation in the areas of smart cities, energy, digitalisation, life sciences as well as developing our start-up communities”, he said.

The Ambassador highlighted that a ‘triple helix’ model of innovation that involves the participation of government, industry and academia would be useful. New technologies like artificial intelligence can be used by these partners to develop solutions that help meet the goals of sustainable development.

He noted the examples of Swedish companies like Volvo and Ericsson that have been present in the Indian market for a long time and pointed out that new entrants like IKEA also have drawn up aggressive expansion plans to tap into the opportunity here.

Molin said that the need for regional and bilateral agreements is important as industries need predictability and thus batted for putting in the place free trade pact (FTA). Negotiations for the much-delayed pact between European Union (which Sweden is a part of) and India have been in process for many years now.

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