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Sitra’s India programme increased interest towards India

Sitra’s India Programme, which is now nearing completion, has increased interest towards present-day India. Over more than three years, the programme has provided the Finnish public with information about India and presented Finnish expertise to Indians.

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Sitra’s India Programme, which is now nearing completion, has increased interest towards present-day India. Over more than three years, the programme has provided the Finnish public with information about India and presented Finnish expertise to Indians.

Numerous publications produced by the India Programme and the new and relevant India knowledge it has provided have resulted in increased media interest towards India, an improved level of public discussions over India and visits of many decision-makers to India.

The programme has also advanced expert exchange between Finland and India. For example in 2007, some 20 Indian researchers received a grant to arrive at a Finnish university and one Finn received a grant to go to India. Sitra’s work will be continued by CIMO and there will be more scholars arriving to Finland this year.

The India Programme has also created networks and increased knowledge about Finland among Indian decision-makers. Finnish environmental and health-care expertise, in particular, has raised interest in India. As a result, concrete co-operation has been started that will be continued by the Association of Environmental Enterprises.

– A central achievement of the programme has been to form the basis for co-operation that will provide benefits for both Finland and India, says Vesa-Matti Lahti, Director of Sitra’s India Programme. – Environment and health care are so-called win-win industries for which India has a need and Finland has corresponding competence.

The final seminar for the India Programme organised at the University of Helsinki on 15 April 2008 focused on the theme of inclusiveness and on how the fruits of Indian economic growth could be equally distributed to all segments of the society. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, gave a speech focusing particularly on the role of technology in creating a sustainable future. Dr. Kalam has been a notable authority in India’s attempts to evolve from a developing country into a developed information society. He has been a role model and a source of inspiration particularly for the youth.

Dr. Mallika Sarabhai, a noted dancer-choreographer and an active commentator on social issues, stated that India cannot be developed into a welfare society by placing emphasis only on technology and economic growth. Central factors for achieving a successful society include equality, and social – not money-oriented and individualistic – thinking. According to Sarabhai, this will still require drastic changes in attitudes with regard to women, in particular.

Inclusive India was part of a series of four events organised in spring 2008, each of which dealt with different fields of co-operation between Finland and India.

Further information

Vesa-Matti Lahti, Director, India Programme, Sitra
Tel. +358 50-387 3188, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi
Eeva Lahti, Communications Officer, Sitra
Tel. +358 44-360 4714

Web cast of the seminar »
(published on 16 April 2008)