27 June 2023

Global Markets

Nurturing Norway-India Partnerships: A Roadmap for Economic Recovery

Hon. Arne Jan Flølo, Consul General, Norway, spells out opportunities for stronger bi-lateral trade ties between Norway and India in an exclusive authored article

This year has seen some major milestones for India. It has surpassed China as the most populous country in the world and it has moved passed the UK to take the position of the world’s fifth-largest economy.

The aftermath of the global pandemic has been volatile. There is the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, impacting the whole world, there are supply chain disruptions, increasing inflation and high energy prices, as well as nervous financial markets.

Against this backdrop, India is continuing to emerge and is gradually taking a stronger position in the global economy. This is in its own right, with high economic growth, and also for geopolitical reasons. India is a land of opportunities and it is increasingly the place to be for international companies.

The green transition is the buzzword of our time. There is a grim background to it. Climate change is not about a vague and distant future. It is here and now. We all have started to see and feel the effects. And the news across the world is telling the story. And it will get worse. There is global warming, oceans are warming up and glaciers are melting. There will be more extreme weather in the future. And weather patterns, as we know them, will be more unreliable.

The green transition will be challenging - but we have to go through it. And to do so quickly as we are running against the clock. We have to decarbonize and move from fossil fuels to renewable and green energy. Our processing industries and transport sectors need to decarbonize and we have to engage in circular economy. This will require large resources. But these resources will only be a fraction of the costs which will occur from addressing the humanitarian and material consequences of global warming and extreme weather.

While the green transition poses challenges, the good story, however, is that it also poses great opportunities. As we are all affected by climate change we all need to work together to address these challenges. This brings me to the Indo-Norwegian collaboration.

Norway and India share a long history and a close relationship. This relationship started with trade and shipping. The Consulate General in Mumbai was established in 1857. Norwegian seafarers have visited Indian ports for centuries, and there are today thousands of Indian seafarers on Norwegian ships. Most of the Norwegian companies in India are based out of Mumbai/Maharashtra and the largest share of those are in the maritime sector. There is a lot of cooperation in maritime technology, ship management and the training of seafarers. There is also collaboration in ship-building. A green maritime and shipping sector, including ports, will be important for the green transition. And this sector offers great opportunities. Norway is strong on technology and we are one of the largest shipping nations in the world. Here we have huge opportunities to build on the past in order to take us into the future.

Related is the energy sector. Norway is an energy giant. We are technically very advanced, being the world leader in offshore and sub-sea technologies. And we have over many decades put a lot of resources into research and development. We are leveraging our experience, knowledge and technology in the green energy transition. We started to make hydrogen nearly 100 years ago in Norway, originally to make ammonia for the fertilizer industry. Green hydrogen and green ammonia will be important energy carriers in the future. Norway has partnered with the Indian Hydrogen Mission and we have established a bilateral Task Force on Energy between our Governments. We see a number of Norwegian companies engaging with Indian companies along the whole green electric value chain. Renewable energy, from solar and wind, offers a great opportunity for India. A scalable market will contribute to bringing technology costs down. This will benefit all.

There is also a strong link between energy and the maritime sector. Green hydrogen and ammonia will be used as fuels. Green ports are also an important piece in this puzzle, with shore power for ships and readiness to supply green hydrogen and green ammonia both as fuels and as export products from India.

In Norway, we are strong on public-private partnerships. We have organized ourselves in clusters, where companies, research institutions and government institutions come together to find the way forward in a collaborative approach. With significant government financial support, research is undertaken and shared, pilot projects are initiated and leading to full-scale projects. We have a number of maritime clusters and we have a hydrogen cluster. These clusters offer a great entry point into Norwegian expertise and technology for India. Clusters cover whole value chains, such as the hydrogen value chain and green electric value chain.

Finally, I would also like to mention the circular economy. Solid waste management, construction and demolition waste, as well as wastewater and sewage treatment are keywords in this regard. Norwegian companies and research institutions are engaged in India and we see a lot of opportunity for strengthened collaboration also here. Research cooperation between Indian and Norwegian institutes and universities is also an important component of our bilateral collaboration.

Collaboration is crucial in order to find the best and most affordable solutions through the green transition. Norway and India have a lot to build on of collaboration which provides great opportunities for both countries. Norway has technology and India has scale. We are a match made in heaven. As a representative of the Norwegian government, I am committed to supporting this strengthened collaboration as we go forward.

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