Stockholm: Coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's five-day tour of three nations, the Nordic countries on Wednesday pledged support to India's bid for permanent membership in a reformed and expanded United Nations Security Council.
The five Nordic countries - Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Finland – also issued a joint statement terming New Delhi as a "strong candidate" for the world body's top organisation.
The five Nordic states also called for the urgent expansion of the UN Security Council and making it more accountable.
The joint statement was issued late on Tuesday after the first Indo-Nordic Summit during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with his counterparts from the five Nordic countries. During the meeting, the leaders of the Nordic states reaffirmed their support for the UN and the Secretary-General's reform efforts to ensure the world body is more accountable and effective to the realities of the 21st century.
Modi, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Finnish Premier Juha Sipila, Iceland Premier Katrin Jakobsdottir, Norwegian Premier Erna Solberg and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven participated at the Summit titled 'India-Nordic Summit:Shared Values, Mutual Prosperity'.
The first India-Nordic Summit was held on the theme ‘Shared Values, Mutual Prosperity.’ We had fruitful discussions on economic ties, global security, innovation and climate change. https://t.co/xV4xoBqDXk pic.twitter.com/S4q26FCo9o
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 17, 2018
They also reaffirmed their full commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development as well as the ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement.
"The Nordic countries agree that India is a strong candidate for a permanent seat in a reformed Security Council expanded with both permanent and non-permanent members," the joint statement said.
The Nordic countries and India reaffirmed the need for reform of the UN Security Council, including its expansion in both permanent and non-permanent seats to make it more representative, accountable, effective and responsive to the realities of the 21st century.
The Nordic countries also welcomed India's membership bid for the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) and "reaffirmed their commitment to work constructively within the Group with the aim of reaching a positive outcome at the earliest opportunity," it said.
India and Sweden co-hosted the India-Nordic Summit on the second and final day of Modi's visit to Sweden.
India and the Nordic nations also agreed to deepen cooperation on issues related to global security, economic growth, innovation and climate change at the Summit.
The Prime Ministers also pledged to deepen cooperation between India and the Nordic countries and focused their discussions on key issues related to global security, economic growth, innovation and climate change.
During the summit, the Nordic leaders emphasised the Indian government's strong commitment to innovation and digital initiatives as key to prosperity and sustainable development and lauded its national flagship programmes such as 'Make in India', 'Startup India', 'Digital India' and 'Clean India'.
Nordic solutions in clean technologies, maritime solutions, port modernisation, food processing, health, life-sciences and agriculture were also discussed.
The leaders noted that the unique strengths of India and the Nordic countries offer immense opportunities for trade and investment diversification and mutually beneficial collaboration, the statement said.
The leaders reaffirmed the importance of free trade as a catalyst for achieving inclusive growth and realising the Sustainable Development Goals.
They acknowledged that innovation and digital transformation drive growth in an interconnected world, and underpin a growing engagement between the Nordic countries and India, it said.
Modi and the Nordic leaders acknowledged that terrorism and violent extremism were major challenges for the international community.
(With PTI inputs)