New Delhi, April 23 : India and Finland are to discuss heightened defence cooperation during the visit here of the Nordic nation's Defence Minister Jyri Hakamies March 26-30.
He will be accompanied by a business delegation.
“Bilateral defence material cooperation and matters concerning the defence industry will be discussed during the visit,” a Finnish embassy statement here Friday said.
During the visit, Hakamies will meet Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony, visit the Western Air Command and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and take part in an industrial seminar.
Hakamies will deliver an address April 27 at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on “Global Security Challenges: A Finnish Perspective”.
This is the second visit of a Finnish defence minister to India after that of Elisabeth Rehn in 1994. In 1994, a delegation of the defence committee of the Finnish parliament had visited India.
“Finland's security policy follows the principle of 'military non-alignment'. This means that Finland has chosen not to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) but cooperates actively with NATO in crisis management and material issues,” the embassy statement said.
Like India, Finland has been very active in UN peacekeeping operations since 1956, having had altogether 40,000 soldiers deployed. Currently, Finland is engaged in UN peacekeeping operations in Sudan, Chad, Liberia, the Middle East and Kosovo and in EU or NATO-led operations in Bosnia,Kosovo, Somalia and Afghanistan.
Finnish soldiers are also part of the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan.
“Finland's security white paper of 2009 reconfirms all fundamentals of the country's security policy. These are membership in the European Union, military non-alignment, active cooperation with international organisations and credible national defence,” the statement said.