India Denmark Relations: Green Strategic Partnership a Force for Global Good
Prof. (Dr) Debasis Bhattacharya

India and Denmark are natural partners connected by common democratic traditions, strong institutional affinity and historical links of trade relations dating back to 400 years ago. The diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Copenhagen were established in September 1949. [1] Since then the two countries have embarked on strong partnership in bilateral and multilateral dimensions based on the spirit of inclusiveness, sustainable development and shared progress. Bilateral relations were considerably elevated with the launch of “Green Strategic Partnership” on September 28, 2020 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen. [2] The partnership is underpinned by mutual interests, common values and commitment to upholding the rules-based international system. The current momentum of India-Denmark relations has been significantly steered by the reach and extensiveness of “Green Strategic Partnership”. India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership is currently regarded as potential game changer in promoting bilateral cooperation in energy security and maritime industry infrastructure development. Specific focus on enhanced cooperation in areas of green hydrogen, renewable energy, and green transition are critical components of this policy. [3]

The Green Strategic Partnership is a milestone that heightens the trajectory of existing dynamic and strategic convergence between the two countries. The partnership is a mutually beneficial arrangement to not only consolidate environmental cooperation and green growth but also advance political cooperation, expand economic relations, create jobs and enhance cooperation on addressing global challenges and harnessing opportunities. [4] The partnership is first of its kind for the two countries. The high focus areas relate to water, energy, climate financing, and green financing. [5] The Green Strategic Partnership sets out the framework for the green transition of India leading to inclusive and sustainable growth trajectory. The synergy and commitment between the two countries have brought them together in strategizing the contours of such robust partnership. India has high green ambitions and commitment in the field of energy transition and also has been experiencing spectacular growth rates. Denmark has long been leading power in green and renewable energy and demonstrated its strong commitment to a green trajectory. The complementary policy focus has brought the two countries together to a robust and resilient strategic partnership. With the policy making strong interface with environment protection and climate security agenda for the two countries it reiterates strong commitment to reduce carbon-emissions in conformity to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). Concurrently, the Green Strategic Partnership further enhances momentum of strategic negotiations on green transition and public-private partnership on climate security between the two countries thereby facilitating steady implementation of the Paris Agreement. The prospects of Green Strategic Partnership relate to its innovative construct while setting a tangible roadmap for New Delhi and Copenhagen to accelerate progress on green transition while strengthening the nomenclature of India-Nordic strategic cooperation. While doing so Green Strategic Partnership also significantly interfaces with India’s ambitious Arctic Policy that resonates with India’s deep commitment for scientific research and collaboration on green technology with multiple stakeholders encompassing including academia, scientific research community, business, and industry. [6]

Green Strategic Partnership is already showing tangible results in the form of India-Denmark Energy Partnership (INDEP) that champions the cause of green energy security while allowing for capacity enhancement; knowledge-sharing and technology transfer on wind energy; energy modelling and integration of renewable energy thereby illustrating the shared commitment to address some of the common global challenges on the way towards global energy transition, green growth and sustainable development. [7] Mutual commitment for the cause of green transition and clean energy is further reflected by Denmark’s joining the India-France led International Solar Alliance as member country. This action complements the objectives of Green Strategic Partnership that has set up ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions, harness solar energy and contribute to greener, cleaner, and sustainable planet. [8]

Danish companies have long been global market leaders in some of the areas that are most important for a successful green transformation. They are global frontrunners in sustainability and innovation. They have both the solutions available, and the commitment needed to make the partnership a success. [9] While India has the scale Denmark has the skills. Synergy between scale and skills in India-Denmark strategic partnership is expected to act as force for global good in terms of innovation, unveiling new technologies for clean energy security and greener world. And it is here that Green Strategic Partnership becomes important by opening avenues for robust cooperation between India and Denmark in the sphere of niche technologies related to renewable energy. With more than 140 Danish companies having a presence in India, the idea for creation of India-Denmark energy parks is innovative and far-reaching [10]in providing impetus for green transformation in India under the aegis of Green Strategic Partnership. As part of enhanced cooperation with India on energy and climate security, Denmark plans to focus on the environment, water and circular economy, including sustainable urban development.

With India and Denmark setting ambitious goals within the climate agenda in multilateral forum, strategic cooperation on green technology sharing is going to have far-reaching ramifications for the two countries and beyond. By partnering, India and Denmark will demonstrate to the world that delivering ambitious climate and sustainable energy goals is possible. [11]Such convergence also allows Danish companies having expertise in relevant technologies assist India in meeting air pollution control targets and set up sustained trajectory towards a green and more prosperous future. As the Green Strategic Partnership is about collaborating on data, skills, technologies, best practices, and experiences technology sharing will enable adoption and penetration of the required skills to the scale leading to optimizing green transition. India being the third largest start-up ecosystem and home to about 111 unicorns with a total valuation of $349.67 Bn[12] green technology collaboration is going to transform the landscape of technology fusion and job creation in India by capacity enhancement of start-ups thereby resonating the spirit of shared progress.

The strategic partnership between India and Denmark has considerable synergy in priorities and mutual commitments. In that context the India-Denmark Joint Action Plan 2021-2026 accords highest priority to take the maximum out of the Green Strategic Partnership towards green growth, energy security and green transformation of maritime industry. With Denmark as permanent member of the Arctic Council and India as Observer of the Arctic Council strategic cooperation between the two countries on scientific research and collaboration on energy resources in the Arctic security will be profoundly impactful for global energy efficiency. India's interest in the Arctic, rich in natural resources like oil, natural gas, copper, zinc, and rare earths, is important. Cooperation between the two countries in the Arctic region towards harnessing renewable energy resources and technology collaboration thereof has been prioritized in recent times based on the tenets of historical precedence. [13]

Other areas of India-Denmark strategic partnership relate to heightened cooperation in maritime security, advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, and defence. Apart from partnership in green transformation, the two countries have strong commitment on defence and security partnership that encompasses maritime security and green transformation in maritime and shipping industry. Maersk, a Danish shipping and logistics company having launched its first green fuel propelled container vessel in October 2023 will necessitate a lot of production of green methanol. India is obviously a place [14] for that allowing for propelling green maritime cooperation. In strategic defence apart from precision military components and equipment, the two countries have plans to explore Danish contribution to India-led Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. [15] Also, Denmark as member of the European Union is a key partner in the ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor that was launched during the New Delhi G-20 Summit and aims at establishing a reliable, robust, and resilient global value chain of strategic significance wherein green energy security constitutes a paramount component of cooperation.

References

[1] “India-Denmark Relations.” Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Available at: https://www.mea.gov.in/Portal/ForeignRelation/India-Denmark_2022.pdf
[2] “India-Denmark Relations.” Embassy of India, Copenhagen. Available at: https://www.indianembassycopenhagen.gov.in/page/india-denmark-relations-india/
[3] Economic Times – EnergyWorld.com. Available at: https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/changes-seen-in-india-are-amazing-danish-crown-prince-on-green-strategic-partnership/98298541
[4] “Green Strategic Partnership.” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark – Denmark in India. Available at: https://indien.um.dk/en/denmark-in-india/green-strategic-partnership
[5] “India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership can inspire the world.” November 07, 2023. Available at:https://www.indiabusinesstrade.in/blogs/india-denmark-green-strategic-partnership-can-inspire-the-world/
[6] Ministry of Earth Sciences, Press Information Bureau, Government of India. March 17, 2022. Available at: https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1806993#
[7] Joint Statement for India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership. Available at: https://www.regeringen.dk/media/10037/joint-statement-for-green-strategic-partnership-for-india-and-denmark.pdf
[8] “India and Denmark: Forging a Sustainable Future with the Green Strategic Partnership.” Invest India, Government of India. October 09, 2021. Available at: https://www.investindia.gov.in/team-india-blogs/india-and-denmark-forging-sustainable-future-green-strategic-partnership
[9] Embassy of India, Copenhagen, Denmark. Available at: https://www.indianembassycopenhagen.gov.in/docs/1644556753
[10] “India, Denmark elevate ties to ‘green strategic partnership’, PM Modi calls for resilient supply chains.” Hindustan Times, September 28, 2020. Available at:
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-denmark-elevate-ties-to-green-strategic-partnership-pm-modi-calls-for-resilient-supply-chains/story-BSEH0JLuzm5SoXlM5NuJ0M.html
[11] “Danish companies are planning to double their investment in green energy and technology in India.” Financial Express, February 22, 2023. Available at:
https://www.financialexpress.com/business/defence-danish-companies-are-planning-to-double-their-investment-in-green-energy-and-technology-in-india-danish-envoy-freddy-svane-2987890/
[12] National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency, Government of India. Available at: https://www.investindia.gov.in/indian-unicorn-landscape
[13] “Denmark, India to consider strategic cooperation.” Mint, January 26, 2024. Available at: https://www.livemint.com/news/denmark-india-to-consider-strategic-cooperation-11706251736373.html
[14] “India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership can inspire the world.” November 07, 2023. Available at: https://www.indiabusinesstrade.in/blogs/india-denmark-green-strategic-partnership-can-inspire-the-world/
[15] “India & Denmark to explore partnership in defence and security, new technology.” Available at:https://www.indianewsnetwork.com/en/20240222/india-denmark-to-explore-partnership-in-defence-and-security-new-technology

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