The first Indo-Nordic Summit, to be held in Stockholm on Tuesday at India’s initiative, will focus on promoting a rules-based international order in the backdrop of China’s attempts to dominate sea lanes of communication that might impact global free trade.
The five Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland – are among the champions of free trade and any attempts to dominate international sea lanes of communication pose a challenge to the rules-based international order, said people aware of the matter. They said the issue would figure high on the agenda of the summit.
China’s creation of artificial islands and militarisation of such islands in the South China Sea, along with attempts to create bases in the Indian Ocean Region, have created apprehensions among members of international community including India because such moves could be detrimental to the freedom of navigation, said one of the persons, who did not wish to be identified.
India has repeatedly spoken in favour of freedom of navigation and rules-based international order, as have key European nations. The agenda also includes promotion of business, trade, investments, technology and innovation, the person said.
“We are looking forward to Indian proposals at the summit amid India’s geopolitical and geo-economic rise,” Finnish Ambassador to India, Nina Vaskunlahti, told ET ahead of the summit.
The summit, the first such initiative by the Nordic countries since a summit with the United States when Barack Obama was President, was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited Sweden. Prime Minister Modi will also host separate meetings with his Swedish hosts as well as the leaders of the other Nordic countries.
Source: Economic Times