External Affairs

In Another Sign of Normalisation, First India Visit by Denmark’s Foreign Minister in Seven Years

Anders Samuelsen held discussions with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on various aspects of bilateral ties including trade and investment, renewable energy.

Sushma Swaraj, external affairs minister welcomes Anders Samuelsen, foreign minister of Denmark in New Delhi. Credit: Twitter/MEAIndia

New Delhi: In another step towards normalising ties, India and Denmark held talks on Monday around investments in renewable energy during the first bilateral visit of a Danish foreign minister in seven years.

Anders Samuelsen held discussions with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on various aspects of bilateral ties, with focus on “building of cooperation in areas of trade and investment, science and technology, environment and renewable energy, shipping, food processing, healthcare, culture, tourism etc”.

The last visit by a foreign minister from Denmark was in December 2010. Six months later, the eastern high court ruled that Kim Davy, a fugitive wanted by India in the Purulia arms dropping case, will not be extradited as he could risk torture in Indian prisons.

Following the order of the Danish court and the decision of prosecutors not to appeal the order, India ‘froze’ ties with Denmark.

Relations have thawed over one year with Denmark’s energy and climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt becoming the first Danish minister to lead a delegation to India in January 2017.

The last time that India had sent a request for extradition of Davy was in December 2016, with sources indicating that India was still looking to get him back.

Though the official press release was silent on this matter, sources indicated that the topic of Davy did come up during discussions today. There was also exchange of views on the proposed extradition agreement between India and Denmark, which is currently under process.

In a written statement to the Danish news agency, Ritzau, Saumuelson noted that it was “no secret that the relationship has been cooler in recent years”.

“But regardless of the legal process, we are working very hard to re-establish a closer relationship,” he said, ahead of his trip to India.

India is particularly interested in attracting investment from Denmark’s offshore wind industry, with renewable energy being a bit part of economic cooperation between the two sides.

The giant Danish conglomerate Maersk has investment in operating JNPT and Pipayav ports amounting to around $500 million. New Delhi is hoping to get more investment from Denmark in this sector. Current bilateral trade stands at $2.8 billion. Earlier this year, in September, Air India began direct flights between Delhi and Copenhagen.

The Danish foreign minister will speak at the Master Class session of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad on the theme of ‘Easy Entrepreneurship – Public Sector Perspective’ on November 29.