Indian President begins (almost invisible) State Visit to Sweden

It is the first ever state visit by an Indian Head of State to Sweden. Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Sweden today. The visit could actually be of some value for bilateral trade which is at an abysmally low level. But the media interest in India and in Sweden is very low. The remarkably low level of bilateral trade certainly is one reason as to why this State Visit is almost “invisible” in the media. Of course the Indian Ambassador to Sweden is jointly for Sweden and Latvia – which downgrade must be one of the Indian Foreign Ministry’s more stupid decisions.

  • India exports just $700-800 million to Sweden out of a total export of about $320 billion. Sweden thus absorbs less than 0.25% of Indian exports.
  • Sweden exports only $1.9 billion to India out of a total exports of about $182 billion and thus India absorbs only around 1% of Sweden’s exports.
  • India exports about $50 billion into the EU every year and absorbs about $57 billion from the EU.

Considering that India’s current GDP growth is running at about 7.3%, it is quite surprising to me that the bilateral trade between India and Sweden should be so low. It has long been my view that there are many, many opportunities but India is not a popular destination for impatient young Swedish “entrepreneurs”. Exports from Sweden to India could exceed $5 billion per year but that needs a change of attitude. My own opinion is that after the Bofors affaire (now almost 25 years ago), many Swedish companies have just given up and have not had the nerve or the patience to try again.

For Indian business, Sweden is a little off the beaten track and exports which are booming into mainstream EU countries, have just not taken off in Sweden. Just as with their Swedish counterparts, Indian businessmen have not had the time or the patience to invest into selling their goods into Sweden. India could easily double or treble exports to Sweden but that will not happen if visiting Sweden is just a reluctant day trip while in London or Frankfurt.

In any event Pranab Mukherjee’s State Visit is not getting very much media coverage in Sweden or in India. However the Royal Court is providing a full coverage of his 3 day visit. (The Indian Embassy is rather slow in providing news and pictures).

Vid ankomsten till Arlanda. Foto: Sören Andersson/TT

Mukherjee being greeted by Crown Princess Victoria on his arrival at Arlanda. Foto: Sören Andersson/TT

Kungaparet och Indiens president Shri Pranab Mukherjee färdades i en beriden kortege som gick från Hovstallet via Kungsträdgården och Norrbro till Slottet.  Foto:

The King and Queen accompanying the President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee in a mounted procession from the Royal Mews through Kungsträdgården and the North Bridge to the Royal palace. Photo:

Sofia Hellqvist, Prince Carl Philip, The Queen, the President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, The King, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. Photo:

More pictures can be downloaded at the press room of the Royal Court.


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