Along with China, India has become a world power. The India Programme (2004–2008) showed modern India to be an interesting partner and well worth knowing.
Although India is still plagued by immense internal problems, its top universities produce excellent researchers. Besides mass production, advanced product development has also moved to India.
India and Finland share certain strengths in IT, for example. From the Finnish perspective, however, there are all kinds of “Indias”.
The rate of economic growth and social change in India are among the most rapid in the world. The country’s top universities produce excellent researchers, and it has also served as the platform from which Finnish companies have been able to extend their business to other areas, including Africa.
At the time the India Programme (2004–2008) was initiated, information on contemporary India was scarce, and experts familiar with the country were few and far between. For this reason the programme focused on producing information on India, initiating an exchange of experts between the two countries and presenting Finnish expertise to Indian audiences through seminars and excursions.
It is useful for Finns to have some knowledge of the Indian culture, society, the economy and university system. On the other hand, it is also worth presenting information on Finland and Finnish expertise to Indian audiences. There are win-win sectors such as the environmental and healthcare sectors where India has a need, and Finland has the expertise to meet the need.
In the course of the India Programme, Sitra set up a scholarship system which made it possible for Indian postgraduate students and researchers to study and work at Finnish universities. The system now continues in the form of the Centre for International Mobility’s (CIMO) India Fellowships.
The numerous publications generated in the India Programme and the distribution of new, and relevant information heightened media interest in India. The quality of public debate on India also improved, and many decision-makers were attracted to visit the country. Furthermore, the India Programme contributed to the establishment of networks and increased the awareness of Finland among India’s decision-makers.
The programme team was assembled for the duration of the programme only. More information on the programme is available from Sitra’s Communications on-call service, tel. +358 40 548 0794.