New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday met her Icelandic counterpart Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson and held talks over a wide variety of issues in an aim to strengthen bilateral relations.
Thordarson is on an eight-day maiden visit to the country, having arrived in the national capital on Friday.
During the delegation-level talks, the Foreign Ministers of India and Iceland deliberated on bolstering cooperation in key sectors such as trade and investment, renewable energy and blue economy among other issues, according to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
"EAM @SushmaSwaraj and Iceland Foreign Minister @GudlaugurThor discussed enhancing cooperation in trade & investment, renewable energy, specially geothermal energy, blue economy with a focus on fisheries, tourism and culture at the delegation-level talks," Kumar tweeted.
During the meeting, Swaraj congratulated her Icelandic counterpart on the country's centennial year of home rule. Acknowledging that the Nordic country is a world leader in geothermal energy, the External Affairs Minister underlined that seeking cooperation in the key sector could help India achieve its renewable energy targets.
"Heralding a new chapter in friendly ties. EAM @SushmaSwaraj received Iceland's Foreign Minister @GudlaugurThor on his 1st visit to India. He arrived on board the inaugural direct flight @wow_air between the 2 capitals. EAM congratulated FM on Iceland's centennial year of Home Rule," Kumar tweeted.
"EAM @SushmaSwaraj - Iceland is a world leader in geothermal energy and cooperation in this sector could benefit our transition to greener energy mix and help in achieving our ambitious renewable energy targets," the ministry spokesperson wrote on his micro-blogging site.
Thordarson would then depart for Agra on December 9, where he is slated to attend a programme. On December 10, he would pay a visit to Jaipur to attend an event. On the morning of December 14, the Icelandic Foreign Minister would depart for Reykjavik.
India and Iceland have, despite the distance and contrast in population size, reached out to each other to build a friendship based on shared values and mutuality of interests. A string of high-level visits since 2000 have imparted a new dynamism to the bilateral relations, sustained by the opening of resident missions (in New Delhi in February 2006 and in Reykjavik in August 2008).
Iceland was the first Nordic country to publicly extend support to India's candidature for permanent membership of United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Subsequently, Iceland has reiterated its position on many occasions.
Iceland was also the first country to co-sponsor the draft G-4 framework resolution on UNSC reforms in 2005. Iceland was one of the countries co-sponsoring India's resolution at the UN to declare June 21 as the "International Day of Yoga".