Over 75 years of diplomatic relations, Sweden and India have matured in their collaboration. Originally, the relationship revolved around trading goods. Today, the focus has shifted to co-creation, with Swedish companies establishing research and development functions in India.
This collaborative approach creates new products and services, allowing the countries to leverage their combined strengths. Sweden has a longstanding interest in education, research and innovation in India, given the strong focus on innovation and research, with about 3-4 per cent of our GDP invested in these areas. This commitment extends from the government to private enterprises.
In an interview with BW Businessworld, Jan Teslef, Swedish Ambassador to India, said “Our goal is to collaborate internationally and scale up our activities, and we have a tradition of Swedish universities collaborating with India to attract talent and foster closer cooperation.”
Can you elaborate on the collaborations between Swedish and Indian universities?
Swedish universities have a history of collaboration with Indian institutions. We are currently organising the largest university delegation to India, with seventeen universities visiting Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi to engage with Indian universities and students, attracting talent and strengthening ties. Swedish companies have also established a significant presence in India, with 260 of them operating here, actively recruiting Indian talent. This has resulted in 220,000 Indians working directly for Swedish companies in India and 2.2 million indirectly associated with them.
What motivates Indians to work with Swedish companies and study in Sweden?
India offers a great market, a base for global export, and a pool of exceptionally talented and young individuals. Approximately 60 per cent of the population is below the age of 30, making India a rich source of young talent. Many Indian students and researchers seek opportunities in Sweden because of the country’s strong educational system, research opportunities, and international collaboration. Indian students apply individually to Swedish universities based on their merits, ensuring high-quality education.
Are there specific criteria for visiting countries like India?
Swedish universities do not have quotas or specific programme for Indian students. Individuals apply to Swedish universities based on their qualifications and interests. Those accepted are chosen because they meet the academic standards and criteria. Swedish universities primarily promote master’s programs, and applicants typically have about four years of higher education prior to enrolling. After completing their master’s, Indian students can stay an additional 12 months to work or engage in other activities.
What is your perspective on inviting international universities to teach courses in India?
While it’s a good idea to invite international universities to collaborate and offer courses in India, international universities face restrictions when it comes to establishing branches abroad. However, exchange programmes involving professors can be a way to facilitate collaboration without compromising academic integrity. It’s important to maintain the individuality and standards of academic institutions, both in India and abroad.
What kind of research programs are offered in Sweden for Indian students?
Sweden offers over 900 graduate programmes in English, eliminating the need for students to learn Swedish. Many Indian students focus on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Sweden also encourages research and education in fields like life sciences, pharmacology, sustainability, and engineering.
How have quizes like the Nobel Memorial Quiz shaped global leaders?
The Nobel Memorial Quiz, focusing on the legacy of Alfred Nobel, provides a unique opportunity for young Indian students to learn about the excellence and prestige associated with Nobel Prizes. The quiz aims to promote awareness of Sweden’s contributions to the world and the value of academic excellence. Through exchange programs, students have the chance to experience a different culture and build connections. In the long run, these programs create global leaders who contribute to knowledge, research, and cultural understanding.
How have diplomatic relations between Sweden and India evolved over the years?
Over 75 years of diplomatic relations, Sweden and India have matured in their collaboration. Originally, the relationship revolved around trading goods. Today, the focus has shifted to co-creation, with Swedish companies establishing research and development functions in India. This collaborative approach creates new products and services, allowing the countries to leverage their combined strengths.
What changes have you witnessed during your tenure as the Swedish Ambassador to India?
During my tenure, I’ve observed a deepening of relations between Sweden and India. There is a growing sense of maturity and mutual respect in our partnership. We have moved from mere trade to co-creation, as Swedish companies work in collaboration with Indian counterparts. Students who participate in exchange programs become cultural ambassadors, fostering stronger ties between the two countries.
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