New era of cooperation between India and Denmark – Ambassador Ajit Gupte reflects on the Green Strategic Partnership

India’s Ambassador to Denmark, Ajit Gupte, encourages smaller Danish companies to seek cooperation with Indian partners.

India is a huge market for leading Danish companies in green energy. By 2030, India’s goal is to have a renewable energy capacity of approximately 450 gigawatts, which is almost equivalent to the total capacity of the 27 EU countries by 2020.

Gupte makes no secret of the fact that India is extremely interested in cooperating with Danish authorities and companies on green transition, because it will help to create the economic development that India needs if one is to eradicate poverty in India and other misery.

Since 2018, a long range of meetings at a high political level between Danish and Indian politicians and officials has now culminated with the Green Strategic Partnership this autumn 2020.

“We have decided to take the partnership to a new level – that is, a strategic partnership. The Danish side wanted to make it a ‘green strategic partnership’. We agreed to this because Denmark is known for having a lot of expertise in sustainable development, renewable energy and circular economy,” says Ambassador Gupte.

“Over the past five years, we have established recurring discussions between ministries on both sides – and we have established nine so-called joint working groups. These are areas where Denmark often has something to offer India. Some of the groups have met twice, others three times. We have had a total of 17 meetings in the groups.

The nine working groups deal with energy, urban development, food, mobility, livestock farming, the food industry, research and technology, shipping and digitization. At the same time, a five-year plan for so-called strategic sector cooperation in the energy field has been prepared.

Denmark has been able to integrate large amounts of renewable energy into the energy system. We must learn this as our production of renewable energy grows. You have to be good at forecasting and have a flexible network and good storage options,” says Gupte.

The ambassador concludes that Denmark has 20-25 large companies which operate globally. In addition, there are approximately 15,000 small and medium-sized companies.

Most of the very big companies have been in India for many years. And we have seen companies expanding their product facilities and in the same time, they are using India as a base for exports to other global markets. That is a very good thing. Maersk, F. L. Smith, Grundfos or Danfoss are doing great in India. They are doing a lot of innovation in India,” says the ambassador who estimates that in 2018 and 2019 Danish companies have had an export of a total of 950 million dollars out of India to global markets.

What is your advice to a small Danish company that has not so far worked in India, but who would like to be part of this new strategic partnership?

Danish companies should look closely at the Indian marked. It is huge. Take a product as hearing aid, where Danish companies have good qualifications. We need 100 million hearing aids. There are great opportunities in India.


McKinsey report shares reflections of Indian business executives on the back end of COVID-19 shutdown in spring 2020

Five priorities for corporate India in the next normal after COVID-19

A report by McKinsey tells about the effects of the lock down of the Indian business market in connection with COVID-19.  McKinsey has created the report on the basis of conversations with various business leaders, and the report paints a picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the large Indian market. Overall, three interesting themes can be highlighted from the report:

Indian and Danish companies´ challenges in connection with COVID-19 lockdown, has led to development in the use of digital opportunities and solutions.

India has been and remains hard hit by the lockdown associated with COVID-19 which has meant that many companies and organizations have been forced to act on the basis of some challenges they have been facing for many years and then at the same time develop new initiatives. As in India, companies and organizations in Denmark had to develop new initiatives and new solutions in connection with the COVID-19 lockdown from the spring of 2020.

On the consumer level, the COVID-19 lockdown has meant that consumers are increasingly embracing digital opportunities and solutions. In India, consumers have reported major increases in the use of low- touch and digital activities within categories like delivery services, at-home entertainment, education, food, staples, shopping, communications, health, and fitness. These new and increased consumers of digital opportunities, solutions, and services in India express that they are highly likely to continue their new consumption of digital solutions and services in the future in areas such as remote learning, digital payments, and curbside pickup of orders from stores.

The executives McKinsey interviewed in connection with the preparation of the report pointed out that the pandemic has been a wake-up call which also includes the areas of advanced technologies where there are three areas in particular in which they expressed interest: First they want to digitize customer- and sales experience in regard to B2B and B2C, and they express that they in the future expect to cut back on some of their physical stores to reduce costs. Secondly, they also express interest in rapidly digitizing their supply chains and manufacturing operations. New supply-chain technologies can deliver significant benefits: Greater visibility, faster and better decision making, and more effective collaboration among workers and between companies and their supply-chain partners. Thirdly, they express interest in creating digitized ecosystems of influencers and customers which they expect in the end will address more customers through a bigger range of technology and physical offerings.


What trends has the covid-19 shutdown led to?

Whether the Indian companies are looking at the domestic market or whether they are looking at the overseas markets, it is clear that many companies will benefit from cutting their financial costs, since the fixed costs of large Indian companies amount to 49 percent of their cost base on average across sectors. Due to that situation many executives express that they have begun exploring new ways to achieve a leaner fixed-cost model. They express that they plan to downsize by 30 to 40 percent and shift fixed costs to variable costs through ways of outsourcing and the use of digital technologies. Slimmer cost structures could lower companies’ breakeven levels by 30 percentage points, which would make them more resilient to demand shocks in the market.  Strategic partnerships to expand India’s large companies could shore up their balance sheets and sustain industry-level profitability by reducing the number of companies competing in the Indian market.

The new normal, trends pointing forward!

The Indian CEOs and executives observed that their companies had become more closely associated with institutions around the world in terms of global flow of goods, information, and capital. However, they have not yet been able to take into account the consequences of these connections at system level in relation to the decisions they make. On the contrary, the CEOs admitted that most of the recent decisions they have taken have aimed to improve the performance of some stakeholders, but that for others it has had negative and unintended effects.

The executives state that they are now inclined to extend their decision-making to conceive the system-level effect for stakeholders in three areas: Their organizations, their communities, and the global environment. They express that it is their hope that accounting for systemic impacts in these three areas will be able to help them in the future to make decisions that promote the interests of their organization as well as the interests of the wider public.

The coronavirus has forced the executives to think and make decisions in new ways. Instead of acting alone, the executives have seen that one of the responses to COVID-19, not only in India but also worldwide, has been that it has made various stakeholders act in unison and sometimes work together across competitive lines and sectors. The leaders have been forced by COVID-19 to rethink their organization’s costs, priorities, processes and address perennial challenges. If the leaders are able to act on these issues, they will likely get a stronger company in the future. They will be more resilient and more likely to persist through the downturn and be ready for the next ‘normal’.

Going forward, the development of companies and organizations in India points toward creative development processes in digital and rationalizing solutions to reduce the financial costs in the Indian market, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of companies both domestically and overseas.


Read the full paper here:




The Danish Energy Agency and EKF are starting a new collaboration on the global green transition

A new cooperation agreement between Danish Energy Agency and EKF will disseminate Denmark’s experiences of green transition to the rest of the world and open new markets for Danish exporters of climate technology.

The Danish Energy Agency and EKF Denmark’s Export Credit Agency have just entered into a new cooperation agreement. By disseminating Danish experiences of a green transition of the energy sector, the purpose is to accelerate the global green transition and position the Danish solutions in a competitive market.

“Denmark is a leading country in green technology and there is a huge potential in expanding the knowledge we have to other countries. With the combination of EKF’s experience in establishing and financing green projects and The Danish Energy Agency’s knowledge of how to provide the best possible conditions for green transition on the part of the authorities, the Danish companies get an even better basis for contributing to reducing the world’s CO2 emission. At the same time, they will create and maintain Danish jobs,” says EKF’s chief executive officer, Kirstine Damkjær.

Danish Energy Agency and EKF are focusing on a number of countries, where the potential for exporting Danish solutions in wind, district heating and energy efficiency are great.

Export in a larger scale with new green fund

Most recently EKF was involved in planting the Danish flag in a new green market, when Taiwan last year began building offshore wind farms with Danish wind turbines. And the green Danish exporters’ access to risky financing was recently strengthened, when the government launched Denmark’s Green Future Fund. Here EKF was allocated 14 out of the fund’s 25 billion kr. for increased exports of Danish climate solutions (Source:

Facts about the collaboration

The cooperation will focus on Danish solutions in the areas of wind, district heating and energy efficiency in the following countries:

  • Vietnam (offshore wind)
  • Sydkorea (offshore wind)
  • Tyrkiet (district heating and offshore)
  • Indien (offshore wind)
  • Japan (offshore wind)
  • Egypten (onshore wind)
  • Sydafrika (specific areas regarding new country program on energy)
  • Mexico (specific areas regarding new country program on energy)
  • Ukraine (district heating and onshore wind)
  • USA (offshore wind)




Extension of lockdown and overview of Aatmanirbhar Bharat part 4 & 5

Overview of recent news from India: Extension of Lockdown and overview of Aatmanirbhar Bharat part 4 & 5

This weekend has witnessed significant news coming out of India on the current Covid-19 situation, but also on how India plans to re-emerge even stronger.

Disclaimer: We have done our best in making an easily accessible overview below, which do not cover each and every topic or subtopics. What is included is information deemed to be of most importance and interest to foreign investors in India.

Please go through the official documents and links if you want to get the complete overview.


  • Lockdown 4.0 extended to 31st of May – Red zones now open to economic activity
  • Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan – 10% of India’s GDP to fight Covid-19 and re-emerge stronger
    • Part 4: New Horizons of Growth
    • Part-5: Government Reforms and Enablers.

Lockdown 4.0 extended to 31st of May – Red zones now open to economic activity 

Source: MHA order dt 17.05.2020 – extention of lockdown with guidelines

On Sunday May 17th, Prime Minister Modi once again announced an extension of the current lockdown. This lockdown 4.0 will last untill May 31st.

Below are the guidelines issued by the central government. Implementation is dealt with at state level, but it was announced categorically that in non-containment zones “all other activities will be permitted, except those which are specifically prohibited”.

Please find here selected highlights:

  • Red zones are now open to economic activity, but containment zones remain closed to all non-essential movement.
  • Inter and Intra state movement of passengers vehicles and busses allowed, except in containment zones
  • The delineation of Red, Green and Orange Zones will be decided by respective State and Union Territories, after taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
    • Within Red and Orange zones, buffer and containment zones will be demarcated by District authorities.
  • Across the country, the current curfew from 7am-7pm remains in effect, except for essential activities.


Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan – 10% of India’s GDP to fight Covid-19 and re-emerge stronger

On May 12th,  Prime Minister Modi announced a special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 20 lakh crore – equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP. This makes the package one of the worlds’ largest relative to GDP.

The package, which translates to Self-reliant India Mission, is meant to make India re-emerge from the Corona virus even stronger than before, by attracting increased FDI and making India a manufacturing hub.

“Prime Minister remarked that self-reliance will prepare the country for tough competition in the global supply chain, and it is important that the country wins this competition. The same has been kept in mind while preparing the package. It will not only increase efficiency in various sectors but also ensure quality.”

The economic package includes previously announced packages such PMGKY.

As such, below will feature an overview of the last two parts of the package that was announced on May 16th and May 17th.

Aatmanirbhar Bharat Part-4: New Horizons of Growth

Source: Atma Nirbhar Bharat Full Presentation Part 4 16-5-2020 PRESS

  • Policy reforms to fast-track investments
    • Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) to enable fast-track Investment Clearance
    • Ranking of states on investment attractiveness (to enable competitiveness)
    • Launching a ‘land bank’ for new investments
  • Coal sector – competition, transparency, and private sector participation
    • Revenue sharing mechanism instead of fixed Rupee/tonne
    • Entry norms will be liberalized
    • Partially explored blocks can be auctioned and private sector can participate in exploration
    • Coal Gasification / Liquefication will be incentivized through rebate in revenue share.
    • 50.000 crores infrastructure development.
  • Mineral Sector – Structural reforms to boost growth, employment and bringing in state-of-the-art tech
    • Introduction of a seamless composite exploration cum mining cum production regime
      • 500 mining blocks would be offered through an open and transparent auction process
    • Remove distinction between captive and non-captive mines
  • Defence sector – ‘Make in India’ for self-reliance in Defence Production
    • Indigenisation of imported spares
    • Separate budget provisioning for domestic capital procurement
    • FDI limit raised from 49% to 74%
    • Time bound defence procurement process and faster decision making
  • Airports – More world-class airports through PPP
    • 6 airports identified for 2nd round of bidding, which will commence immediately
    • Another 6 airports will be put out for the third round of bidding.
    • India to become a global hub for Aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO)
      • Tax regime for MRO ecosystem has been rationalized
    • Convergence between defence sector and the civil MROs will be established to create economies of scale
  • Tariff Policy Reforms – a new policy will be released covering these topics
    • Consumer Rights and DISCOMs
      • DISCOMs to ensure adequate power; load shedding to be penalized
    • Promote Industry
      • Generation and transmission project developers to be selected competitively
    • Sustainability of Sector
      • No Regulatory Assets, timely payment of Gencos
      • DBT for subsidy; Smart prepaid meters
    • Privatization of Distribution in UTs
      • Power Departments / Utilities in Union Territories will be privatized
  • Space – Boosting private participation
    • Will provide level playing field for private companies in satellites, launches and space based services.
    • Future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel etc. to be open for private sector
  • Atomic Energy related Reforms
    • PPP mode for research reactor for production of medical isotopes
    • PPP mode for facilities to use irradiation technology for food production


Aatmanirbhar Bharat Part-5: Government Reforms and Enablers

Source: Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Presentation Part 5 17-5-2020

Part-5 of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat covers recent reforms and laws to promote India as an investment destination, expenditures and reforms to combat Covid-19 and future pandemics, online education post covid-19 and increased allocation to the MNGREGS.

It also covers:

Public Sector Enterprise Policy for a New, Self-reliant India

  • Govt. of India is working on a new coherent policy where all sectors are open to the private sector while public sector enterprises (PSEs) will play an important role in defined areas
    • List of strategic sectors requiring presence of PSEs in public interest will be notified
    • In strategic sectors, at least one enterprise will remain in the public sector but private sector will also be allowed
    • In other sectors, PSEs will be privatized (timing to be based on feasibility etc.)
    • To minimize wasteful administrative costs, number of enterprises in strategic sectors will ordinarily be only one to four others will be privatized/ merged/ brought under holding companies




New guidelines on lockdown in India

Today, April 15th, Ministry of Home Affairs shared the new guidelines on lockdown in India in reference to Modi’s address to the nation yesterday.

Included in the guidelines is list of new select activitites allowed after April 20th, operationalized by the local authorities based on strict compliance with existing guidelines on lockdown measures.

MHA order dt 15.04.2020, with Revised Consolidated Guidelines.pdf

CII recommendations on a gradual exit from lockdown in India

Yesterday, CII released their recommendations towards a gradual exit from the lockdown in India.

  • They recommend a two-fold economic revival package that includes enhanced credit to industry through banks, covering 3-months of salary/wage bill at an interest rate of 4% to 5%.
  • They recommend a two-phase opening of sectors, where the manufacturing, e-commerce and construction sectors are recommended to open in the first phase, perhaps with 25% capacity in the beginning

They also present sector-wise recommendations on measures to be implemented in a post-lockdown scenario.

Please refer to recommendations in its entirety here:
EXIT FROM THE LOCKDOWN 12 April 2020.pdf

Martin Lidegaard writes on India after the Danish Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee visited the country early March

Martin Lidegaard, Chairman of the Danish Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee, writes about the Committee’s visit to India in the first week of March.

The sentiment brought forth here resonates strongly with what the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs expressed at his Key Note Speech at IDCCs annual meeting ‘Forward Together’ on February 27th.

Below is translated from the article in Danish media ‘Altinget’:



If Denmark is to make an impact on the climate on a global level, we have to focus more on India, writes Martin Lidegaard.

Denmark has come a long way in the green transition, and much suggests that we will move further this spring. It is a necessary development which finally has accelerated after the climate election in June last year.

But if Denmark will make a difference for the climate, for the biodiversity and for the world’s poorest, it is equally necessary that we look beyond the country’s borders and link our most important experiences and technologies to those parts of the world where it really matters. This, we are already doing with great luck in China, South Africa, Mexico and many other places.

If we are to succeed in sustainable development, India too is inevitable. It can be expressed very clearly: It is simply not possible to reach the necessary goals within climate and sustainability without India.


This was confirmed when Foreign Policy Committee last week visited the large country.

A fifth of the global population lives in India today. Both its population and economy grow dramatically and alongside China and the rest of Asia, India will within a few years make up for some 70 percent of the world population and 60 percent of the world economy.

If that growth is not made sustainable, we might as well give up hope for coping with global warming and creating a more equal and peaceful world.

The good news is that India wants sustainable development and in many areas is an obvious partner for Denmark. This is especially due to three circumstances.

India and Denmark need each other. Denmark is leading in the development of green technologies – in return, India has a huge supply of a well-educated and skillful workforce, not least engineers, which today all larger Danish companies are already employing domestically and internationally.

In Denmark alone, there is estimated to be around 30,000 Indian employees. Thereby many personal and commercial ties have already been established between the two countries. But the potential is even greater.


India and Denmark can both be great winners of enhanced collaboration.

What Denmark has in green specialization, India has in the potential for the scale of green solutions, which is something that matters for the world’s green transition.

Already the expansion of coal plants in India is reduced markedly and construction of new ones has not been allowed the last five years.

In return, the wind and sun energy are expanding rapidly. Sustainable energy sources have simply become the cheapest and in India, they are built without subsidies.

But if India is to reach 100 percent of sustainable energy within a few decades – and not just the present 40 percent goal for 2030 – it both requires more capital, more investments and an adjustment of the energy system itself.

Denmark really has something to offer within all these areas and is already contributing with experts and counselling, and Danish companies and investors are now really looking towards the Indian market.


But we are not at all where we could be. The next obvious step is the signing of a green strategic partnership between India and Denmark, which will make Denmark the leading partner in this field.

The possibility is there if we act now and both Denmark and India have incredibly much to gain in a partnership – both for the climate and the economy.

Finally, India is the world’s greatest democracy with a wish to form a rule-based and multilateral world order – like Denmark.

Here too Denmark has a great interest in a strengthened partnership. We need strong alliances in the new multipolar world order in which India will be one of the poles.

If the world’s poverty is to be fought, again India cannot be bypassed: It is said today that more people live below the poverty line in India than in the whole of Africa south of Sahara.

It is not just green sustainability goals which make India relevant. It is also social and economic goals.

A lot has happened in the last couple of years. Among other things, all villages now have access to electricity and prime minister Narendra Modi has declared it a goal to secure a better life for much more of India’s population by providing access to power, water, education and health for all.


India is a country moving forward but not all in the development is rosy. The Hindu nationalistic government, led by the popular Modi, is praised for its social efforts but critiqued for its advance in Kashmir and towards the country’s Muslim population, which has culminated in bloody riots lately.

But this is only another argument for betting on a stronger partnership with India which also will pave the way for critical dialogue on these areas.

India is still a living democracy with room for thought and speech and where opinions are put forward and where western politicians can discuss everything with our Indian colleagues as we have just experienced on our trip.

India is soon the world’s biggest country – too big to fail.


Martin Lidegaard (born 1966) is a member of parliament for Danish Social Liberal Party and chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee. He is a former foreign minister and minister for climate, energy and buildings. Further, Lidegaard was the co-founder and chairman of the green think tank Concito. The commentary is only an expression of the writer’s own opinion.


IDCC Annual Meeting: Forward Together

Celebration of 400-years of Indo-Danish relations

On February 27, more than 80 people gathered to celebrate 400-years of Indo Danish relations at IDCC’s Annual Meeting ‘Forward Together’.

While we did celebrate by taking stock of the current political, commercial and cultural relationship, the overarching question of the day was how we continue to strengthen the relationship.

With Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jeppe Kofod’s recent visit to India this January, we were excited to learn about the Danish government’s vision for the future bilateral relationship.

Continue reading for a detailed brief of the event.


























Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jeppe Kofod

“We see you as very important partners”

From the very outset, Jeppe Kofod made it clear that Denmark is dedicated towards a close and strong partnership with India. Summarizing the significant development the relationship has gone through in recent years, with the relaunch of the Indo-Danish Joint Commission in 2018, he emphasized the growing Danish presence in India and the several G2G cooperations being launched in key sectors such as Renewable Energy, Smart Cities, Water and Wastewater and Intellectual Property Rights.

Jeppe Kofod shared that a ‘green strategic partnership’ with India is of highest priority and a decision to work towards this was made when he met with his Indian counterpart, Minister of External Affairs Mr. Jaishankar in January. The aim of such a partnership is to achieve the joint goals of sustainable development.

While the Danish exports to India remain low in terms of goods, Jeppe Kofod emphasized that this way of measuring evaluating commercial relationships cannot stand alone.

However, looking at the Indian market cannot only be evaluated by exports. Several Danish companies are present in India and performing formidably.

Today we have almost 200 Danish companies in India who are employing around 100.000 people.

One of the many reasons India is an attractive market is its demographic – a very young, well-educated and English speaking population. In the offices of Danish companies in India, thousands of talented Indians are working on global projects, adding significant value to the companies that do not show on the regular trade statistics.

In the global fight against climate change, Denmark may be small in stature. But as Prime Minister Modi has said ”Denmark has the skills. India has the scale”. I would add, that India certainly also has skills.

Quoting Prime Minister Modi’s statement when he met former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen in January 2019, Jeppe Kofod added that India certainly also has the skills. As such, Jeppe Kofod continued, we should also look to India for inspiration and invite Indian technology to Denmark through strong partnerships.

Read Jeppe Kofod’s full speech here 



Ambassador Ajit Gupte, Embassy of India, Copenhagen

Opening the doors to FDI

Ambassador Ajit Gupte presented a business-friendly India that has intiated a range of programs and missions to welcome foreign direct investment. Programs such as Make in India and Clean India provide significant opportunities for Danish companies and with the recent jump on the ‘Ease of doing business’-index (from #130 in 2016 to #77 in 2018), it has only become easier.

India is not only a market for production and export, Mr. Gupte continued, but a significant R&D hub. More than 900.000 Professionals are employed by multinational companies in their R&D hubs in India.

Ambassador Gupte highlighted the business opportunities associated with key government initiatives. By the year 2025 these include:

  • 225GW of renewable energy
  • 100+ Smart Cities
  • 10.000 kms of New High Speed Rails
  • 400 Airports


Thomas Sehested, Danish Cultural Institute in India


Thomas Sehested is Director at the newly opened Danish cultural institute in New Delhi, shared how the Indo-Danish relations are based on mutuality and respect. On November 19th 1620, a lease treaty for the first Danish trade post in Tharangambadi (Tranquebar) was signed between Danish Admiral Ove Gjedde and the local Nayak of Thanjavur, Rabunatandran.

November 19 is also the date on which the Danish Cultural Institute in India celebrates the 400-year anniversary at Tranquebar. Up until that day, stories about Indo-Danish relations will be posted daily, as part of the project named “400 years 400 stories”.

By showcasing examples of Indo-Danish relations throughout the last 400 years, the project aims to continue developing the bilateral relationship, also in a commercial setting, by emphasizing the cultural values that both nation share.

You can read more about the project here: 400 years 400 stories

Craig Storti, Communicating Across Cultures

Never assume you have  understood; never assume you have been understood

With more than three decades of experience in intercultural communications, Mr. Craig Storti (US) conducted a heartening workshop on the difficulties of communicating across cultures. Craig repeteadly had the audience in laughter as he quizzed them on the perceieved outcome of conversations from his own experience working in India for Western companies.

While cultural misunderstandings can be humerous, the outcome of such can be costly for companies, as deadlines are missed or project details misunderstood. Craig provided the audience with some tools to be aware of cultural differences and emphasized that it is almost never the purpose of either party to misunderstand or to be misunderstood – it is simply an outcome of even the best intentions when navigating across culture.

More of such examples are available in his book “Speaking of India” which is a brilliant book on Indian culture(s) and intercultural communication.

Learn more about Craig Storti here


Thanks to our close partner in DI for professionally hosting the event.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod’s speech at IDCCs Annual Meeting

The speech given by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jeppe Kofod, at IDCC Annual Meeting ‘Forward Together’ on February 27th, 2020, at Dansk Industri (Confederation of Danish Industry)


  *** [check against delivery]***

Ladies and Gentlemen.

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of Indo-Danish relations.

In this historic year, I am honoured to address you here at the annual meeting of the IDCC.

Back in 1618 the first Danish East Indian expedition set out. One and a half years later the expedition reached Tamil Nadu.

Here the admiral, Ove Giedde, negotiated a treaty with Naiken of Tanjore on behalf of King Christian IV. This treaty of friendship and union gave Denmark the trading station Tranquebar – and marked the beginning of Indian and Danish relations.

Today travelling to India from Denmark takes 7 hours. And our relations are closer than ever.

I am pleased to be invited by the IDCC today. Your work to develop the Indo-Danish relations is truly important.

Good collaboration between countries requires more than political will. It requires committed public and private partners.

Today I will talk to you about the Danish Government Priority to strengthen Denmark’s relations with India.

We see you as very important partners.


In 2018 the Indo-Danish Joint Commission was relaunched – marking a very important step in strengthening our relations.

The commission delivers an effective framework for cooperation between India and Denmark within a number of sectors.

And Denmark has also in recent years invested heavily in expanding the Danish presence in India.

We have built a new embassy in New Delhi. This allows us to expand our many activities. We have upgraded our representation in Bangalore from a trade office to a consulate general. And we have increased the number of diplomatic staff.

With these investments our set-up is ready to promote India/Denmark relations and assist Danish companies in India.

We have strengthened our bilateral relationship in recent years. Spearheading this development has been the close cooperation at sectoral levels.

• Government-to-Government cooperation covers key sectors:
• Renewable Energy
• Smart Cities
• Water and Wastewater
• Intellectual Property Rights

Let me give an example. In the 1990’s Denmark assisted with knowledge sharing and financing, to set up the first wind testing facilities in southern India.

Today, India has the fourth largest wind power capacity in the world. Many Danish companies have been part of this journey by entering the market, establishing manufacturing and research and development facilities.

Last month I had a productive meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jaishankar. We have a mutual interest in expanding the relationship between India and Denmark.

We decided to work towards creating a green strategic partnership. The aim of the partnership is achieving our joint goals of sustainable development. The green strategic partnership is of highest priority.

In India I saw how Danish technology can be put into play in cleaning streams and reusing the waste in energy production. In other words turning waste to wealth.

All over India, Danish solutions are solving problems. But it is not just one way. Denmark can of course learn from India as well. For instance, within solar power India is world leading, and we need to draw from that experience.

Green global leadership demands collaboration – Denmark is ready to deliver on that.


India is on its way to becoming the world’s third largest economy in this decade. However lately the growth has slowed, and the job creation has suffered in relation to that.

Danish exports to India only accounts for 0.52% of the total Danish exports. India is only our 30th largest export market. In contrast, China is our 7th largest export market for goods.

However, looking at the Indian market cannot only be evaluated by exports. Several Danish companies are present in India and performing formidably.

Today we have almost 200 Danish companies in India who are employing around 100.000 people.

But how do we further our 400 years of trading with each other? How do we improve Danish business presence in India even more?

Succeeding in India requires presence. The Danish trade council knows how to create or expand presence in India

The trade council assist Danish companies through long term strategic cooperation – helping to break through the market barriers in India.

Through framework agreements, the embassy can work long term on establishing presence for Danish companies in India.

For example the embassy helped a Danish company delivering sustainable solutions to the airport development in India.

The original tender process, were focused only on up front price. The embassy set up meetings with top level stakeholders. This resulted in the company advising the tendering process – delivering solid sustainable solutions to the airports – for the benefit of the Danish companies, the Indian green transition and the airport’s running costs.

The Danish government has a clear objective. It is to raise the Danish green sector exports. As a part of that agenda we need to be world leader within SDG number 7 – sustainable energy.

We also need to ensure that this target helps Danish businesses within the energy sector in India.

Therefore, on offshore wind, Denmark and India are working together with a Strategic Sector Cooperation between national authorities supporting India’s targets.

In addition, Denmark and India are developing an India-Denmark Energy Partnership, where Danish experts will work together with Indian authorities.

All of this is part of a 5-year government-to-government programme in an effort to support the Indian transition to a low carbon economy.

Denmark is supporting India on its quest to supply clean drinking water to its entire population, and clean up the waterways in India. In New Delhi I had a productive meeting with the minister of water resources, Shekhawat.

He introduced me to the many water initiatives in India – also water for all by 2024. I assured him that Denmark is ready to assist with technology and experience.

We have set up a city-to-city partnership between Århus and Udaipur in Rajasthan. Also working on a government-to-government corporation of water management.

The aim is to establish the “Denmark-India Water Technology Alliance”. The water alliance will provide a platform where Danish whole solutions can be exported.

The embassy in New Delhi delivers concepts in a range of areas. At the moment the embassy is trying to create a dairy alliance – providing better farm practices and solution. A hospital alliance focused on delivering Danish health tech and equipment.

Within Danish trade council, the representations in North America and South Asia are trying to create an impressive concept within sustainable cloth production.

The trade council will connect Danish companies, thereby delivering sustainable options within clothing production – from cotton field to store.


In the EU Denmark works actively in order to strengthen the ties between Europe and India. We support the push for an ambitious free trade agreement between EU and India.

Hopefully the upcoming EU/India Summit can be a good stepping stone.

However, government collaboration can’t solve the climate crisis alone. We need you. We need public-private partnerships.

The private sector can contribute to climate action with financial capital, innovative ideas and technology solutions. We count on you to further develop the commercial and bilateral ties.

Both at the Embassy in New Delhi and within the government we will do our utmost to assist you.

Denmark has experience working with public-private partnerships. Denmark is part of the global initiative “Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals” – P4G. The P4G promotes innovative public-private solutions to drive green growth and climate action.

We were a driving force in starting this initiative.

Denmark and India are frontrunners in realizing the potential of public-private partnerships as a driver for green innovation. Let’s continue to do so!


The 2020’s will perhaps be the most decisive decade ever. When Admiral Giedde set out in 1628 he had a clear mission demanded by the king. Set up a trading station in India!

He faced a dangerous journey and challenges along the way. I imagine his odds of succeeding might have looked bleak at times, but luckily he succeeded.

Today our main challenge is delivering on the green agenda. How we will succeed, I do not have a definite answer to – but we have no alternative.

In the global fight against climate change, Denmark may be small in stature.

But as Prime Minister Modi has said ”Denmark has the skills. India has the scale”. I would add, that India certainly also has skills.

By combining ambitions, scale and skills, we can reach our global targets and build a green, sustainable future together.

400 years ago we met. Today we are closer than ever. Let us strengthen our relation even further.

And remember: Investments in green transition is not only good for the climate. It is simply good for business!

Thank you.