Sweden backs India's UNSC bid, says it is 'natural claimant'
Stockholm: Sweden has backed India's bid for a permanent seat in a reformed UN Security Council, saying the country is a "natural claimant" for it in view of its size as well as growth.
Sweden also supported India's entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary association of 34 countries favouring non-proliferation of unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.
Sweden's backing to India was conveyed to President Pranab Mukherjee, who is here on a state visit, the first ever by any Indian head of state, by Swedish Prime Minister Stefen Lofven who called on him along with his cabinet colleagues.
During the meeting yesterday, the Swedish Prime Minister shared the view that in a reformed United Nations Security Council, Sweden believed that India had credentials to be a part of it.
"In view of the size as well as speed at which it was growing, India is a natural claimant for being a part of the UNSC," the Swedish Prime Minister was quoted as saying by Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs Navtej Sarna.
Lofven also told the President that Sweden supported India's entry into MCTR.
India and Sweden also signed several agreements yesterday to boost ties and decided to restart the bilateral strategic dialogue besides finding ways for investment by the Nordic country in India's defence sector under the ambitious 'Make in India' initiative.
It was agreed that the two countries would re-start their strategic dialogue between the two National Security Advisors, Sarna told reporters here.
Asked why the dialogue was stalled in 2011, Sarna made it clear that there was no breakdown in the talks but only that the two countries had got into election mode.
"Now that two new NSAs had been appointed, they will restart the process which is expected to begin soon," he said.
The President and Swedish Prime Minister witnessed signing of agreements between the two sides which included an Agreement on Visa Exemption for diplomatic passport holders.
The other agreements signed included a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Sustainable Urban Development, MoU for cooperation in the field of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Letter of Intent with Collaboration in Polar and Ocean Research and two health-related agreements.
As many as 15 agreements between various universities of India and Sweden were signed on the sidelines of the visit at the Swedish foreign ministry.