Mumbai: Norway reopened its Consulate General in Mumbai on Tuesday after over four decades and pushed for closer cooperation with fast-growing India in economic and other fields.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Borje Brende re-opened the office at Bandra-Kurla Complex in suburban Mumbai, a move he said will consolidate his country's ties with India.
The office would extend its services to cover rest of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, said new Consul General of Norway to Mumbai Torbjorn Holthe.
Norway's first consulate in Mumbai was established 1857, but was closed down in 1973. The Consulate General was established to serve traditional Norwegian shipping and maritime trade interests.
Addressing the dignitaries present on the occasion, Brende said, "India is the fastest-growing economy in the world and our government is happy to resume its operation here with its oldest and youngest partner."
"Reopening of this consulate would be a win-win situation for India and Norway as both the countries would have a closer cooperation now onwards," he said.
"Today I had a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and we both expressed the view that there are now bigger opportunities to tap the opportunities in the field of investments and jobs emerging in both the countries."
Since Mumbai is the financial capital of India, it was of great importance to have our presence in the city, Brende said.
Norwegian Ambassador to India Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, however, said the office has not been delegated the power of granting visas. Applicants would be allowed to apply in Mumbai, but their visa forms would be processed by Delhi-based Consulate General, he said.
Asked why the Consulate General in Mumbai was closed down, the Foreign Minister avoided a direct reply and quipped when the decision was taken "I and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra were only five years of age."
"But all I can say now is that this office in not going to be closed," Brende retorted.