Both countries have agreed that the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis provides the opportunity to build more sustainable economies

India and Norway on Tuesday held the sixth session of Joint Commission meet in a virtual format and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction over significant progress in their diplomatic engagement.

At the meet, while the Indian side was led by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the Norwegian side was headed by Foreign Minister of Norway Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Talking about the meeting, External Affairs Minister tweeted," Thank FM Ine Eriksen Soreide for a productive India-Norway Joint Commission Meeting . Our green, clean and human-centric partnership has an increasing relevance in the contemporary world. Appreciate the progress made in our Blue Economy and Ocean Dialogue."

The two sides, during the meeting, noted that the visit of Prime Minister Erna Solberg to New Delhi in January 2019 had laid down a blueprint for a comprehensive partnership between India and Norway.

They also noted that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic had posed significant challenges to nations across the world.

While reiterating their commitment to cooperate closely in combating the pandemic, both ministers welcomed the establishment of the global facility COVAX and the work to secure fair global access to vaccines.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the bilateral cooperation on maternal and child health.

The Ministers agreed that the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis provides the opportunity to build more sustainable economies.

Both sides noted with satisfaction the Dialogue on Trade and Investment (DTI) which gave impetus to business cooperation and participation of Norwegian companies in the flagship programmes of India.

The first meeting of DTI held in January 2020 in New Delhi identified areas of cooperation to include maritime, fisheries, tourism, skill development, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) and renewable energy among others areas.

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to expand the bilateral trade in order to realize the untapped potential in the commercial and economic relationship.

The two Ministers expressed their hope for an early conclusion of the India and EFTA trade negotiations.

Both sides noted with satisfaction the significant progress made in the Ocean Dialogue and the initiatives undertaken by the Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development to synergize potentials both in India and Norway, particularly in areas such as fisheries, aquaculture, green technologies for maritime use, construction of vessels, ship recycling and green ports.

Both sides emphasized the cohesive action undertaken in areas of marine pollution, integrated ocean management and research, and marine spatial planning.

The ministers underscored the potential for cooperation on the blue economy to help protect the oceans, while creating sustainable growth and jobs.

The two foreign ministers noted the activities undertaken under the Joint Working Groups (JWG) on Maritime, Marine, Hydrocarbons, Environment, Science and Technology, and Higher Education.

Both Ministers underlined the significance of the JWGs giving impetus and direction to the cooperation between the two countries, in particular to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, combat climate change and move towards a greener economy.

They emphasised the central role of the UN in maintaining global peace and security. Now that India and Norway are incoming elected members of the United Nations Security Council, both sides agreed to engage in regular consultations at senior official level on Security Council issues during the membership period 2021-22.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional, multilateral and global issues of interest and decided to hold the next round of Joint Commission Meeting in Oslo at a mutually convenient date.