By Mudita Girotra,
New Delhi : The Make In India initiative to encourage national and multi-national companies manufacture their products in the country can play a role in boosting Finlands relations with India, the country’s Ambassador, Nina Vaskunlahti, has said.
“Indian politicians always tell us that they want to make in their country but can’t do it alone,” Vaskunlahti told IANS in an interview.
“India is open for collaborations, ideas, innovations — things that can be together,” she said.
“An Indian colleague recently proposed the idea of making it in the Finn-Indian way by putting together the best of the two nations together.”
She said a lot of cooperation, visits and interests can be seen on both sides and stressed that it is important that relationship between two countries is versatile and strong.
“That is what the case between India and Finland is…there is politics, economy, tourism, trade, and investments.
“Trade relations have grown across the years. Currently, the trade volume is around one billion Euros, which is not too bad. Last year, the trade grew by 17 per cent.:
Vaskunlahti noted that Indian firm Mahindra Holidays and Resorts has increased its stake in Finland-based Holiday Club Resorts by buying additional 6.33 per cent shares at a consideration of 4.37 million euros.
“There are roughly 100 Finnish companies active in India and there is increasing Indian interest in Finland and in investing in the Finnish economies.”
The RSS chief, on September 9 at the launch of the Indian Education Manual (Bhartiya Shiksha Granth Mala) by Ahmedabad-based think-tank Punarutthan Vidyapeeth, said there was a need to overhaul the existing Indian education system on the lines of Finland, which is similar to the ancient Indian gurukul system.
Vaskunlahti commented on this saying, “Finnish education system is based on Finnish ideas and legislation…strong parts of the Finnish education system were “the high-level education of teachers”.
“They have a great academic background and have lots of freedom in the way they teach.”
She said the system in her country lays stress on quality education from an early stage. “From kindergarten to primary school to secondary, the Finnish education system is free (of charge) for all,” she added.
“It is also based on an open access to information and to equality among people.”
Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia had visited Finland last year and said that India needed to learn a lot from the country’s education system, which is “the best in the world”.
Are there any plans to sign any agreements with India to develop its education system or otherwise?
“We don’t really believe in agreements. People are always boasting so and so many agreements were signed. You can sign but the proof is..if the agreement really brings something.
“Many educators from the (Indian) government and the profession are visiting Finnish insititutions…talking to their counterparts. We are organisimg different seminars and events to bring across what we are doing,” Vaskunlahti said.
“There are firms ready to export their ideas but education system as such cannot be exported. It is based on your own values. Nevertheless, we can always export the best practices and share our mannerisms.”
Cultural cooperation interactions are also going on between the two countries, she said. “When people get interested in each other’s cultures and countries, that’s when interactions start happening,” she explained.
“I think Finland is an inspiring country for Indian artists and photographers, the same way that India can be inspiring for Finns. I saw lots of Indian travellers, artists spending time there.”
The Embassy of Finland with Fortum India and Visit Finland ha brought to the capital a photo exhibition titled, The Northern Lights — spectacular solar flares that occur mainly during winter in Finland.
Vaskunlahti said the show, which ended on September 21 in Delhi was a novel platform to enhance cross cultural relationship between India and Finland. It will also move to Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
“The exhibition opened interesting opportunity for the Indian audience to experience Finland through artistic photography,” she added.
As part of the celebrations of 100 years of Finland’s independence, the show brought photographs on the play of the sun rays and light.
“The pictures look surreal when you look at the colours but they are real…this is what the sky looks like in this phenomenon.”
(Mudita Girotra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)