Klas Molin, Sweden’s Ambassador to India, recently mentioned that Swedish businesses perceive India as a challenging market with huge potential. Speaking at a summit about Atmanirbhar Bharat – India’s self-reliant programme aimed at attracting foreign investments, Klas added that for Swedish companies to prosper in India, there is a need for transparency, fair regulatory framework and a well-developed infrastructure.
For the same purpose, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India has also been established further to solidify the business ties between India and Sweden. It is also aimed at exploring the possible synergies and growth options in several areas, ranging from R&D to Healthcare, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Artificial Intelligence, 5G Technology, and more.
Innovation is one of the core tenets of these partnerships – the India Sweden Innovation Day is observed every year to highlight the importance of research and growth in these business partnerships. Celebrated earlier in December, Molin spoke on occasion and was seen echoing the calls of possibilities for Swedish companies to enter the Indian markets.
In context to the innovation within these ties, the Swedish envoy also mentioned, “Both our governments have allocated funding for multi-million calls under our partnership. As a consequence, business links between our countries will continue to grow stronger and deeper, drawing us closer together and creating jobs and prosperity.”
The Precedent is Set by the Giants
Sweden is one of the many countries who have favoured the ‘Make in India’ mission; it is also in the top 25 countries in terms of the largest international investors in India. The likes of Scania, Volvo, and Ikea have done well to make a name for themselves in the country; pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca are one of the front-runners in India for the Covid-19 vaccine development, as well as the treatments and diagnostics options.
All of these have MoUs, joint ventures, and partnerships between the two countries been taken to a level above following the high-level visits between India and Sweden in 2018 and 2019.
However, it is fair to mention that these companies are truly massive in their own spheres. For new Swedish enterprises and start-ups to thrive in India and take advantage of the massive humanities, a lot of things have to be streamlined, and expectations need to be calibrated correctly.
Case in point, it took Ikea years to finally launch in India, following their acceptance to a favourable FDI policy.
Stability, Flexibility, and Predictability are Crucial
While many top Swedish giants are already present in India, the focus should also be on smaller enterprises and start-ups, Molin remarked in an interview. To attract more investments from the Scandinavian nation, stability and predictability in a policy landscape are important, allowing companies to plan accordingly.
To this end, there has also been some sort of reciprocation from India. India’s Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, in the recent CEO Forum of India-Sweden Strategic Business Partnership, pushed for Sweden and the European Union ‘opening its door a little wider’’ and removing some of the non-tariff barriers or standards to allow easy flow and expansion of goods and services from both the sides.
The two nations are also looking at drawing a roadmap in the next three months to increase the scope and synergies of the bilateral partnership.