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)


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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.


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