India and Finland on Tuesday launched a digital partnership that will focus on collaboration in developing future ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and mobile technologies, including research and development in 6G, and the use of digital tools to transform education. The partnership was announced during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin.
Both leaders pledged to work together on bolstering multilateralism and a rules-based international order, promoting sustainable development and tackling climate change.
The two leaders also launched a sustainability partnership involving renewable and clean energy, circular economy, and sustainable mobility, and said green growth is an essential element of bilateral cooperation.
Finnish firms such as Nokia are among world leaders in the development of mobile technologies and the digital partnership will see the two sides working together in three key areas – future ICT, with a focus on quantum technologies and computing; future mobile technologies, with a focus on 6G research and development; and future education based on the digital transformation of learning, said a joint statement.
“Both Finland and India believe in a rules-based, transparent, humanitarian and democratic global order. We have strong cooperation in areas such as technology, innovation, clean energy, environment and education. In the post-Covid period, all these sectors will be very important for global economic recovery,” Modi said in his opening remarks at the summit, speaking in Hindi.
Marin called for cooperation in post-pandemic recovery, achieving a rules-based international system, and tackling climate change. “Finland and India are natural partners in the field of new technologies. Mobile technology revolutions such as 3G, 4G and 5G were sparked partially with Finnish know-how and digitalisation is a great opportunity for us,” she said.
The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research at Pune and Finland’s Aalto University are already working on jointly developing a quantum computer with the use of artificial intelligence and 5G technology is an important area of collaboration, said Neeta Bhushan, joint secretary (Central Europe), external affairs ministry.
“Nokia is working in rural areas for expansion of 5G applications, and Wipro and Tech Mahindra are working with Finnish firms for expansion of 5G and evolution of 6G,” she told a news briefing after the summit.
During the virtual summit, which lasted about an hour, the two prime ministers also unveiled a high-level dialogue between the education ministries of both sides and looked forward to the renewal of a memorandum of understanding between a consortium of 10 Finnish universities and 23 IITs for cooperation in higher education.
The two leaders also discussed global efforts to speed up development and scaling up of manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines and the need to promote equitable access to all countries, Bhushan said. They also discussed cooperation at the WTO and backed an open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system.
The situation in Myanmar following the February 1 military coup also figured in the discussions.
“Both prime ministers expressed concern over recent developments in Myanmar and mentioned that rule of law must be upheld. As a country that shares land and maritime borders with Myanmar, we have the highest stakes in peace and stability in the country. We have traditionally strong cultural, religious and people-to-people ties with Myanmar and the safety of the people remains our top priority,” Bhushan said.
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