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“Source: IBEF”

New Delhi: India and Sweden Thursday launched a joint programme that will work towards addressing a range of challenges around smart cities and clean technologies among others.

The programme was co-funded by Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Swedish agency Vinnova.

Vinnova will provide funding to Swedish participants up to 2,500,000 Swedish Krona (around Rs 1.87 crore) as grant. On the Indian side, 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.

“The India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research and Development Programme will see Swedish and Indian innovators work together and develop solutions that benefit both sides,” Klas Molin, Ambassador of Sweden to India, said.

He added that India, with its strong talent pool and scale with over a billion people, will play an important role for developing solutions that can address challenges related 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 startup communities,” he said.

Molin highlighted that a ‘triple helix’ model of innovation that involves participation of government, industry and academia would be useful as these partners can work towards using new technologies like artificial intelligence to develop solutions that help meet goals of sustainable development.

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

Molin batted for putting in place free trade pact (FTA) saying “the need for regional and bilateral agreements is important” as industries need predictability.

Negotiations for the much-delayed pact between European Union (which Sweden is a part of) and India have been on for many years now.

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