Finland Minister of Education and Culture, Petri Honkonen called on Union Minister of Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh at North Block to seek enhanced bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
He was accompanied by a high level delegation which later held a separate meeting with the Indian delegation in the presence of the two Ministers.
While Dr Jitendra Singh reiterated India’s focus on collaboration even in StartUps, the Finland Minister was full of praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for management of Covid pandemic and also the efforts of the Union Government of India in ensuring development of vaccines and vaccination for all the countrymen.
India and Finland agreed to carry mutual cooperation between the two countries to a new level in a number of areas of bilateral as well as global interests. Two nations decided to enhance cooperation in areas such as Digital Partnership in Future ICT, Future Mobile Technologies and Digital Education. The two countries also emphasised on having institutionalised joint working groups on areas of mutual interest.
This was reiterated by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and the visiting Finland Minister Petri Honkonen. The visit comes in the wake of the announcement made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Finnish counterpart Ms. Sanna Marin during a Summit meeting on 16 March 2021.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the bilateral STI collaboration between the two countries is an attempt to stimulate innovative R&D projects that address a specific need or challenge; demonstrate high industrial relevance and commercial potential; and aim to deliver benefit to all participants, and more broadly, to both nations.
Dr Jitendra Singh also recalled that following the signing of the Joint declaration during the visit of Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs, Finland on 18th April 2022, both sides have initiated collaboration in Quantum Technologies. Indian side has already identified four premier institutes viz IISER, Pune, IIT Madras, TIFR Mumbai and C-DAC Pune to work with Finnish institutions on joint development of Quantum Computer. The Minister expressed satisfaction that experts from both sides are working out detailed plan for establishment of the Indo-Finnish Virtual Network Centre on Quantum Computing and targeting to develop 20 qubits superconducting based Quantum Computer in 1st phase and further scale it up to 54 qubits in second phase.
Dr Jitendra Singh conveyed to the Finland Minister that India is keen to develop research collaborations with Finnish R&D institutions and technology collaboration with Finnish Industry especially focusing on the application of Quantum Computing in areas such as: Sustainable Energy Technologies (generation, conversion, storage and conservation),Environment and Clean Technologies, Bio-based Economy, Bio Banks and Bio based materials for different applications of water and Marine Technologies, Food & Agri Technologies, Affordable Healthcare (including Pharmaceuticals and Biomedical Instrumentation) and Technologies for Advanced Manufacturing Integration of AI and Machine Learning in all domains.
Honkonen assured Dr Jitendra Singh that Finland is keen to cooperate with India in 5G, Environment and Clean Technologies, Bio-based Economy, BioBanks and Affordable Healthcare. He said, progress is also on subjects flagged by Indian and Finnish Prime Ministers.
India and Finland have strong bonding in Science, Technology and Innovation. Within the framework of S&T agreement, the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland together with Business Finland and Academy of Finland have been successfully collaborating for over a decade.