‘We Can Clean Up India’s Most Polluted Rivers’

When Matti Vanhanen took over as Finland’s Prime Minister in 2003, there was just the Nokia mobile handset that had a presence in India. For the rest, Finnish investment was concentrated elsewhere. This was one of Vanhanen’s major challenges, and he soon set in motion a process that would correct the imbalance. Today, though the total bilateral trade stands at just around $1 billion, R&D collaborations are mushrooming across sectors, including telecom, transport and cleantech. Vanhanen tells KUNAL MAJUMDER he expects the Indo- Finnish trade to grow by 15-17 percent annually. Excerpts:

Nokia is a household name. What’s next?

The Nokia Siemens Network in Bengaluru will have nearly 200 researchers on board. Kone, one of the world’s biggest global lift and elevator companies from Finland, has its biggest factory in India. Several Finnish companies have production facilities here.

Finland’s high on nuclear power. What’s on the plate for India?

Finnish firms are not into creating nuclear technology, but we do have capabilities in nuclear safety and planning that we are ready to share with India. We can offer know-how and technology in the renewable energy sector and help raise plant efficiency levels.

Many from your delegation were keen on clean-tech.

It is growing rapidly. While most of it is in the energy or renewable energy sectors, we are also collaborating in waste management — which is a huge segment. Rising Indian living standards mean that you will be producing more and more waste in cities and villages. Here Finland has much to offer because we have energy- intensive industries. We lack gas and coal resources. So it was important to develop energy-saving technologies.

Read the rest in Tehelka issue dated February 20, 2010

February 20, 2010

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