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Norwegian Prime Minister arrives on Wednesday
December 06, 2005 19:57 IST
Norwegian Prime Minister Jeans Stoltenberg arrives in New Delhi on Wednesday on a three-day official visit for discussions with Indian leaders on various bilateral and international relations.
During his visit, Prime Minister Stoltenberg will pay a courtesy call on President A P J Abdul Kalam and have a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern. He will also meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Dr Singh will host a dinner for the visiting dignitary, who will also attend the third meeting of partners of the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation.
India and Norway enjoy cordial relations rooted in shared values, commitments and understanding. Bilateral ties have been progressively gaining substance. Bilateral trade stood at $ 305 million in 2004, having gone up over three fold in last decade.
There has also been considerable increase in bilateral economic activity, involving hydro-electric infrastructure, hydrocarbons, joint ventures, ship-procurement and Information Techonology. Potential areas for mutually-beneficial cooperation include deep offshore technology, fisheries, BPOs and biotechnology.
Following recent registration of the Norges Bank as a Foreign Institutional Investor with SEBI, Norwegian investments in Indian capital markets have also begun and the figure currently stands at $96 million.
Nearly 7,000 people of Indian origin currently live in Norway.
This visit would be his first outside of Europe since Prime Minister Stoltenberg assumed office in October 2005. He also visited India in April 2001, during his earlier tenure as Prime Minister.
The decisions taken during that visit have triggered a paradigm shift in bilateral relations. An Indo-Norwegian Joint Commission has been set up at Foreign Minister level and had its first meeting in Oslo on June 2005.
Both countries are actively discussing cooperation in areas such as exploitation of hydro-carbon resources and science and technology.
Norway, along with Iceland, has shown interest in participating in India's proposed International Centre for Precursor Studies, which would enable prediction of earthquakes and develop early warning systems for the management of natural disasters.