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India, Finland need to collaborate in business, education: President

Helsinki, Oct 17  India and Finland need to collaborate intensively in the fields of business as well as higher education, President Pranab Mukherjee said Thursday.

Addressing a business meeting here, Mukherjee said: “India and Finland have traditionally enjoyed warm and friendly relations. Our bilateral relations have become increasingly multi-faceted and have acquired a substantive content with enhanced trade and investment levels.”

“There are substantial prospects of cooperation in the field of technology and innovation between both our countries,” he said.

The Indian president noted that the two countries had set up “institutional mechanisms to encourage exchange of economic and commercial information, identify possibilities of investments and tie-ups in different areas, disseminate information on the diversification of trade and to acquaint the business community of both countries about commercial opportunities”.

In recent years, there has been a substantive growth in economic and commercial relations but there was still more scope, he said.

“In spite of the global economic downturn, bilateral trade has seen a substantial increase and has reached approximately $1.5 billion in 2013, which is an encouraging development.”

“However, I am of the firm opinion that this does not do justice to the true potential for economic and trade co-operation that exists between our two nations. We need to explore the untapped areas where opportunities exist,” he added.

Mukherjee said that India and Finland need to collaborate intensively in the educational sector so as to add to the diversity of their campuses and to build capacity.

He said India has emerged as one of the largest global economies and the resilience of its economy is evident from the fact that the impact of the global financial crisis has been far less severe in India than other countries.

He expressed surprise that FDI equity inflows from Finland into India since April, 2000 have only been $288 million.

The president said he was confident that greater B2B interaction would create better awareness of the vast economic opportunities that lie within the economy. “Finnish companies would find it immensely worthwhile to come and invest in a growing economy like ours.”

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