India, Finland have agreed to explore new areas of cooperation: MEA

New Delhi, Nov 24 (PTI): India and Finland have agreed to explore cooperation in new areas like startups, health and pharmaceuticals, space and vocational education, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Wednesday.

The two sides also carried out a comprehensive review of their bilateral ties at the 11th India-Finland foreign office consultations that took place in Helsinki on Tuesday, the MEA said.

It said both sides exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest including Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific, India-EU partnership, cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic regions and COP-26.

“Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation during their terms at UN Human Rights Council (2022-2024), and in other multilateral fora,” the MEA said in a statement.

The progress made in bilateral cooperation since the virtual summit between held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Finnish Sanna Marin in March was also reviewed in the meeting.

The MEA said the foreign office consultations provided an opportunity to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including further strengthening of partnership in areas such as trade and investment, education, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, circular economy and renewable energy.

“Both sides reviewed the progress made since the virtual summit and also agreed to explore cooperation in new areas like vocational education, space, startups, health and pharmaceuticals,” the MEA said.

The Indian delegation at the talks was led by Reenat Sandhu, Secretary (West) in the MEA while the Finnish team was headed by Matti Anttonen, Permanent Secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs.

“India and Finland share warm and friendly relations underpinned by common values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights,” the MEA said.