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Newest NATO member Finland hails cooperation with India, backs Sweden, Ukrainian membership
New Delhi: Finland Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto hailed ties with India in Oslo, Norway on Thursday saying that the Finnish recognize the importance of India as one of those countries where economic growth and its response to the future challenges have been taken up seriously, noting that the cooperation between the two has been 'excellent'.
"We recognize the importance of India as one of those countries where economic growth and the perspective towards the future including the issues like fighting climate change and responding to future challenges has been taken up very seriously. India and Finland have excellent cooperation, particularly in the field of green development and green technologies, said Finland's Foreign Minister. The Minister while speaking to ANI from Oslo, Norway which is currently hosting an informal meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, with Finland becoming the 31st member of the NATO or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in April also stressed the importance of joining the alliance including its support for Sweden and Ukranian NATO membership.
"Finland being the 31st member of NATO is very important, security-wise. As you know it was a long process when we, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, decided to apply for NATO membership. For us it is an important decision, of course, we will take care of our own defence also in the future, but in case we are attacked or get any security threats, we know that we are going to get help from NATO countries and at the moment our main scope is trying to support the membership of Sweden. There are some meetings scheduled in Lithuania in July and we hope that before those meetings, Sweden could also be a member," said the Foreign Minister.
When asked about the NATO member's support for Ukrainian membership during the meetings, the Minister said that "The overall mood was very much supportive and positive to engage more with Ukraine and to provide comprehensive support to Ukraine".
Finland on April 4 this year became NATO's newest member upon depositing its instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty with the United States at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
NATO Allies signed Finland's Accession Protocol on 5 July 2022, after which all 30 national parliaments voted to ratify the country's membership. Finland's flag - a blue cross on a white background - was hoisted alongside those of the alliance's 30 other members as a military band played in bright spring sunshine then.
When asked further about the focus areas during the informal meeting in Oslo, the Minister said that the key issue was about Ukraine and the military and humanitarian support.
"There were some of the corridors and bilateral meetings between the ministers. Today we had a common meeting of all the ministers of 31 countries and the key issue was very much Ukraine, how our support towards Ukraine will continue and also the military and humanitarian support to Ukraine by the NATO countries and this has to continue in the years to come. We also discussed some other important issues like our cooperation with the Indo- pacific countries and the current developments in Kosovo.", said the Foreign Minister.
"The China issue or the Taiwan Strait security issue was not so much discussed during these days but all nato member states are following the developments there", said the minister.
On what role India can play in resolving the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, the minister said that "diplomacy is always important at the moment of crisis and at the moment of the war. We have seen that there are already some diplomatic talks going on". He also stressed the peace initiative by Ukraine adding that "It's very important that India follows the conflict and situation and convince Russia of stopping this illegal attack".
Mentioning India and Finland's cooperation, the minister also highlighted the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Helsinki earlier where he unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
"When Foreign Minister Jaishankar visited Finland we had the opportunity to inaugurate the statue of his excellency Mr Gandhi in Helsinki and I never realized how many Indians are living in Finland. All of them came to the inauguration. I think we have a very good perspective of increasing our trade and also cooperation on the study. We have recognized how many talented people are Indians on green technologies and others," said the Foreign Minister. (ANI)