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A Successful Visit to India by the Danish Foreign Minister Mr. Jeppe Kofod

17.01.2020  10:05
The visit to India by the Danish Foreign Minister, Mr. Jeppe Kofod, marked the beginning of 2020 - a year where we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Indo-Danish friendship. The visit set the tone for a future of collaboration with high climate ambitions at the centre.

The Danish Foreign Minister, Mr. Jeppe Kofod, arrived in New Delhi, India, on 15 January 2020, for an exciting two-day programme. Overall, the Indo-Danish collaboration on the climate agenda was prioritized along with the fruitful outcomes of increased bilateral collaboration. It has been a little more than a year since a Danish Foreign Minister last visited India and a lot has happened since. During the last visit, the Indo-Danish Joint Commission was relaunched and focus was on strengthening the bilateral trade relations between India and Denmark.

Global Green Super Powers      

While in India, the Foreign Minister presented the Danish government’s ambitious new climate bill, which aims to reduce emissions by 70% by 2030, binding Denmark to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. However, he stressed that Denmark is only a small player in the global fight against climate change and, thus, it is up to the world’s leading countries to take the necessary steps to address this pressing issue. Pointing to the impressive political leadership that Honourable PM Shri Narendra Modi has shown in steering his country on a green path, Mr. Kofod argued that Denmark’s many years of experience and world-leading expertise within renewable energy and sustainable development is the perfect match for India. Hence, with a green strategic partnership both nations can become global green super powers.

This was also the message conveyed when the Foreign Minister met with Union Minister Shri Gajendra Shakhawat of the vitally important Jal Shakti (Water for Life) Ministry. The two Ministers discussed how Denmark can contribute to India’s ambitions of providing tap water to every household by 2024. On Thursday, the Foreign Minister also met with his Indian counterpart, Minister of External Affairs, Smt. S. Jaishankar. This was an important first meeting between the two Foreign Ministers, crucial for the decision to collaborate and extend the Indo-Danish bilateral relationship with the ambition of a green strategic partnership.

While much of the Minister’s visit was focused on the “bigger picture” issues, there were ample opportunities to demonstrate Denmark’s competencies on a more practical level. Sustainable wastewater treatment is a growing issue for many of India’s expanding cities – but an area of expertise where Denmark is a global leader. This was showcased during the Minister’s visit to the DESMI water treatment plant in Delhi where Danish technology is used to great benefit for the local community.


Indo-Danish Business Opportunities
Despite 400 years of partnership, Danish exports to Indian still only accounts for 0.5 per cent. This makes India Denmark’s 30th largest export market, in comparison China ranks 7th. There is thus huge untapped potential for Danish companies in the Indian market. Exactly this was highlighted during the visit, as the Minister had a chance to discuss Indo-Danish commercial relations with both members of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and leaders from the Danish business community in India.

Denmark looks forward to embarking on a green path of collaboration with India and as the Foreign Minister highlighted himself: “Instead of asking what is possible, we started by asking what is necessary. This is the level of ambition needed. If we are to meet our global climate goals.”

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