Finnish companies on the lookout for Indian tie-ups

New Delhi, Nov 25 ( Finland is planning to have a larger presence in India, with a delegation of more than 120 members arriving here, seeking to forge tie-ups in areas such as renewable energy, clean technologies and healthcare systems.

Businesses from both countries have converged at the ongoing India-Finland Technology Partnership Forum to be held through the week.

“The shopping list of collaborations comes from the interest of both countries,” said Jorma Routti, a member of the Finnish delegation and executive chairman of venture capitalist Creative Industries Management.

“The particular interest from both parties relate to clean technologies, renewable energy, healthcare systems like diagnostics and information communication technology,” Routti told IANS.

Finland’s iconic mobile handset brand, Nokia, already has a huge presence in India.

The interest among developed economies towards India is understandable. The global meltdown has hit the growth rates of these economies, expediting the need to invest in emerging markets like China and India, which are expected to grow by 9 and 7 percent respectively in 2009-10.

“Countries in Europe are growing at 1 percent, if at all. In many cases, the markets are saturated. The same thing is true of the US,” said Routti.

“We have come to the conclusion that China and India, which used to be the biggest economies in the world for many centuries from year 0 to 1700s, are going to retake their positions.”

However, Routti emphasised, India should not take the route of developed countries to grow into an economic superpower and had to meet its energy needs with renewable energy sources and technological innovations.

“India is partly highly industrialised and partly developing. One has to make quantum leaps, you don’t have to exactly follow the same path which the British took before, because that is too environmentally taxing and too slow,” he argued.

“What’s the point of running out of oil in a few decades and then have nothing? The difficult question is how not to burn the cheap and abundant coal. We have to look at different developmental models rather than always go for heavy industrialisation.”

Routti, who has also served as the director general of research of the European Commission, said renewable energies can be used in decentralised manner, bringing in energy efficiencies to large rural and semi-urban parts of India.

Maintaining that technological innovations can have a far reaching impact on the lives of people in a large country like India, he also said research needed to focus on churning out practical applications rather than just doctoral thesis and degrees.

“Currently, lots of money goes into R&D and very little comes out of it.”