Helsinki: India and Finland are expected to sign a slew of agreements to bolster cooperation in energy, fishing and education, besides exploring tie-ups in science and technology during President Pranab Mukherjee’s three-day state visit to this key Nordic nation beginning Tuesday.

The two sides are also likely to firm up pacts for enhanced cooperation at the government-to-government, business -to-business level as well as among institutions. India is also seeking to benefit from Finland’s expertise in knowledge-based economy and clean technology, official sources said.

“India views Finland as an important member of the European Union and a repository of modern technology and Finland sees in India a large market for its products and a favourable investment destination for its high technology industries," they said on the eve of Mukherjee’s visit to Finland, the first by an Indian president in 26 years.

“In Finland we also have a reliable trade partner, heavily industrialized in a very green way. We have $1.5 billion of trade and there are over 100 Finnish companies in India which are working here including in R&D," they said.

“The prospects for the already active Indo-Finnish cooperation on science and technology look promising with increasingly diverse opportunities opening not only for the authorities but also for research organisations, technology companies and sponsors," Finnish officials told PTI.

India is a key centre which hosts one of the five global centres of innovation run by Finland known as FinNode. The main focus areas of FinNode India are clean tech, education and learning, health care and wellbeing, and innovations to base-of-the-pyramid markets.

Finland ranks among the most competitive economies in the world. The country is highly globalized and foreign trade forms an integral part of the business culture. In the 1990s, knowledge drove economic growth and transformation and in less than a decade Finland became an information and communications technology specialized economy.

Main export items from India have been electronic goods, ready-made garments, cotton including accessories, manufactures of metals, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals, machinery and instrument, coffee, rubber, iron and steel, petroleum products and leather.

Major imports of India from Finland include electronic goods, computer software in physical form, machinery except electric & electronic, paper board and manufactures, telecommunication equipment, power generating machinery, pulp and waste paper, transport equipment among others.

On the investments side, large Finnish companies like Nokia-Siemens, Kone elevators, Wartsila, Ahlstrom, Elcoteq, Metso, Fortum, UPM have set up manufacturing facilities in India.

Over 130 Finnish companies have operations in India and 30 Indian companies, mainly in the software and consultancy sector, are working in Finland. Currently, there are about 400 Indian professionals working in Finland for Finnish high-tech companies and Indian software companies like Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and others based in Finland. PTI

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