NEW DELHI: Finnish Economic Affairs Minister Mika Lintilä said on Monday that he hoped India could contribute to negotiations aimed at ending the conflict in Ukraine, which has had a huge impact on the economic and security sectors across Europe.
There are also plenty of opportunities for India and Finland to work together on critical and emerging technologies, especially in quantum computing and 5G and 6G, to develop seamless and reliable solutions, he said. he stated in an interview.
Lintilä and Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs Petri Peltonen are currently visiting India with a business delegation to attract Indian investment and companies to Finland and to forge collaboration in quantum technologies, telecommunications, artificial intelligence (IA) and renewable energies.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had serious consequences for the whole of Europe and more than 60% of Finnish citizens now want the country to join NATO, Lintilä said.
When asked if India’s response to the Ukraine crisis figured in his conversations with his Indian interlocutors, Lintilä replied: “Actually, that’s the foreign minister’s sector, but of course, I hope that India can help in the negotiations. If India can do something, we are very grateful, because [at this time] one has the impression that the negotiations have no result.
India has repeatedly called for an end to hostilities in Ukraine and a return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also suggested there should be direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents.
Lintilä said no one knows how Russian President Vladimir Putin feels about the situation. The trade and economic situation has been complicated by the conflict, but Europeans believe that strict sanctions in areas such as energy, finance and logistics must be maintained “no matter what”, he said. he adds.
“Finland strongly condemns the Russian attack. Russian actions target Ukraine, but they are also an attack on European security as a whole. The Russian attack is a flagrant violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. The whole of Europe is in shock that in 2022 there will be war in Europe,” Lintilä said.
Finland has a long history of tensions with the former Soviet Union and Russia. Both sides fought the bitter Winter War from 1939 to 1940, and Finland has a 1,340 km border with Russia. Unlike other European Union members such as Germany, Finland is not so dependent on Russian energy, especially gas, and trade with Russia is only around 5% of the Finland’s total trade.
On Monday, Lintilä and Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh announced the establishment of the Indo-Finnish Virtual Network Center on Quantum Computing to give impetus to innovative research and development projects.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Pune will be part of the new virtual network on the Indian side.
Lintilä and Peltonen said there is potential for the two countries to partner to develop transparent and reliable solutions in critical and emerging technologies, especially quantum computing, AI and telecommunications. Peltonen said Indian institutes of technology are natural candidates to collaborate with Finnish research organizations in these areas, and Finland will also encourage industry-to-industry cooperation.
Finland is considered one of the most advanced countries when it comes to cryogenic quantum computers, which are cooled to almost absolute zero, and this niche technology could be a new area for collaboration, Peltonen said.
“What connects India and Finland is reliable connectivity and the ability to develop reliable and seamless technologies, which is becoming increasingly important as lives and societies go digital,” said Peltonen. “We have to develop new technologies, but we also have to administer the use of them,” he added.
Lintilä will meet the Union’s trade, power and oil ministers on Tuesday and a memorandum of understanding for renewable energy cooperation is also expected to be signed.