India has continued its Nordic outreach with the Minister of state for external affairs Meenakshi Lekhi expected to visit Iceland and Norway next month. Other than the two Nordic countries, the minister will also visit Malta. The visit to the two Nordic countries comes in the backdrop of Denmark hosting the second India-Nordic summit. The summit saw the participation of all five Nordic countries and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
When it comes to the Nordic region, the focus has been on climate-friendly solutions, innovation, and clean technology. Iceland was the first Nordic country to publicly extend support to India’s candidature for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and also co-sponsored India’s Resolution at the UN to declare June 21 as the ‘International Day of Yoga’. The last major incoming visit from Iceland was by Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson in 2018. Back then, Thordarson was the foreign minister of Iceland. Currently, he is the minister for Environment and Energy.
Norway earlier this year announced it is joining the international solar alliance (ISA). Norway is known for its expertise in areas such as electrification, smart grids and renewable energy financing which can further support the alliance. 105 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement.
Malta is a fellow Commonwealth country and the last major visit from the Indian side was in 2019 by the then Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Indian naval ships have regularly visited Malta on goodwill visits like the visits of INS Darshak in April 2002 and INS Tarangini in February 2007, June 2015, October 2015 and May 2018.