Stockholm, April 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that India and Sweden had always worked closely and would continue to do so. Modi, who is on his maiden visit to the country, is on the first leg of his journey that would take him to Britain and Germany as well. Addressing the press, Modi said the focus of their bilateral talks was on how the two nations can work together to make a change on a global level.

Speaking in Hindi, Prime Minister Modi said that in 2016, Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had visited India with a huge business delegation and India’s biggest Make in India event outside the country was also organised in Sweden last year. The theme of the talks today, he said, was how Sweden could make the most of India’s development and form a win-win relationship with the country. He said Sweden had been India’s partner in the field of defence for a long time and would continue to be so, with a special focus on defence manufacturing.

While the premiers discussed bilateral and regional issues, the two sides also signed a Joint Innovative Partnership and exchanged an Action Plan, reported ANI. Addressing the press, Lofven said, “The countries enjoy excellent bilateral relations with solid cooperation in a broad range of areas…India is aiming for an unprecedented economic transformation, including manufacturing as well as in digital development and Sweden has many innovative and sustainable solutions to offer.”

He said since the 2016 meeting in Mumbai, Sweden had seen more political and business interaction between the two sides. Brushing up on the issues under discussion, he said, “ultimately, it’s about creating jobs and economic growth”.

The Swedish PM commended the Indian Government for its focus on innovation as the key to growth. He said the government was doing so with its flagship programmes like Make in India, Startup India and Digital India. He said the two sides had issued a joint action plan as well as signed an innovation partnership. He said his government would be kickstarting the innovation partnership by providing up to 50m Swedish Kronor for innovation cooperation.

PM added that the two countries would be setting up a common task force on cybersecurity. He said India has emerged as a global power whose voice cannot be ignored in any conversation on a global platform. Prime Minister Modi would be attending the India-Nordic summit, for which Prime Ministers of other Nordic nations have also been invited, and Common Wealth Heads of Government meet, both in Sweden.