Denmark believes India will be able to set a “new tone” and give a “new direction” to the world as far as the geopolitical and geoeconomic issues are concerned even as the Russia-Ukraine war compels the world to effectively undertake a “green transformation”, Danish envoy Freddy Svane said.

In an exclusive interview to ABP Live, the Danish ambassador to India said the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which began in February this year, will see greater “collaboration and cooperation” among countries that are reeling under an energy crisis. 

“This war is really nothing of the sort we ever wanted. But hopefully out of all this you will see a collaboration and cooperation amongst countries sharing the same values that we will have to do more to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels as such. Denmark is in a very good position in the sense that we have, over many many decades, been investing heavily in the green transition in building up renewables, wind, solar and also bio-based solutions,” Svane said. 

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He added: “So, Denmark is in a good position, but it goes without saying that Denmark being a member of the EU, we stand where we stand, and we are also with Ukraine. And we stand till the end whatever comes out of this war with Ukraine. Therefore, we are part of all these decisions, including the EU price cap, which should ideally bring the war to an end and make the cost of continuing the war as high as possible.” 

Earlier this month, the European Union (EU), consisting of 27 member countries, agreed to put a gas price cap in an effort to tame inflation after Russia cut the bulk of its gas deliveries to the European countries. 

Svane said the war has exposed Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas and thus “a continued strength on green transition that counts for Denmark, that counts for India, that counts for rest of the world” is the need of the hour”.

“Given India’s G20 Presidency, I do hope and expect India will set a new direction keeping all this in mind. India has a golden opportunity — good, great, green opportunity — to change things from what they are now to what they could and should be in the future,” said Svane.

He stressed: “I see India taking a global responsibility, of course it’s not for me to tell India what to do, but I think we can have a lot of expectations and I personally have a lot of expectations that India will play its cards whatever cards India might have in such a way that we will be looking into a better, greener and more sustainable future which will create better livelihood for all of us.” 

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‘Can India Walk The Extra Mile’?

According to Svane, the Narendra Modi government has taken a lot of positive steps as far as climate change commitments are concerned. India and Denmark launched a ‘Green Strategic Partnership’ in September 2020. 

When Prime Minister Modi visited Denmark in May this year, the Danish Prime Minister Metter Frederiksen had urged him to “influence Russia” to “stop the war”. 

According to Svane, India needs to “walk the extra mile” and think “out of the box” in order to bring in “innovative mechanisms” that will enable the world to make a decisive turn. 

“I am personally fond of the fact that India is going to look into all the so-called Bretton Woods structures and mechanisms. They were well designed for the situation arising after the second world war and yet now we are many many decades later and we have to see India coming up with new initiatives that will make these institutions relevant and modern,” said the envoy. 

“Also, we will be seeing to what extent India is ready to think out of the box. Can India walk the extra mile? So hopefully innovative India, very committed towards green transition. The Prime Minister of India would come up with some brand-new ideas … It’s time for action,” he said, stressing on how India can shift from traditional to innovative ways in addressing global challenges.

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He highlighted: “We are combining India’s scale and demands with the skills we have on our side. Don’t forget that Denmark was forced into a green transition back in the 1970s because we had the first oil crisis, and we were then dependent on fossil fuel imports. Suddenly we were forced to change our daily lives and we developed a lot of new techniques and new practices. So, speed is important. We need to put the (G20) statements into specific actions.”

On the India-EU free trade agreement (FTA), which has been stuck for over a decade now, Svane said the trade deal is now needed more than ever owing to the pandemic and the war and this has given rise to supply chain disruptions. 

“Trade is difficult … Present level of trade is not sufficient. So, India-EU FTA and investment protection agreement is important. Free trade is important. We need to move on given the geopolitical conditions. We have no alternative but to have this FTA as soon as possible…We need this kind of trade due to the geopolitical challenges,” he added.

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