NEW DELHI: Keeping up intense outreach efforts to Europe, foreign minister S Jaishankar will visit Finland from Thursday en route to the US. Finland is the new president of the European Union Council.

Jaishankar’s visit comes as the European parliament held a discussion on the Kashmir situation, which saw the EU high representative for foreign affairs, Frederica Mogherini, calling for bilateral resolution of the issue.

In Helsinki, Jaishankar is scheduled to meet the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Antti Rinne and Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto who is his host.

According to a statement issued by the Finnish foreign ministry, “Foreign Minister Jaishankar will also meet Parliament Deputy Speaker Tuula Haatainen and members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He will also give a speech during a seminar organized by the Foreign Policy Institute.”

Given that the visit is close to October 2, Gandhi Jayanti, Jaishankar will unveil a Gandhi statue in Helsinki together with Haavisto. “During the visit, Foreign Minister Jaishankar will, among other things, hold talks on the countries' bilateral relations, international and regional issues, human rights and the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Climate change is also an important theme.”

In a statement, the Finnish foreign minister Haavisto said, “I look forward with interest to the discussions with Foreign Minister Jaishankar. India's role internationally is constantly growing and the country is expected to bear a greater share of global responsibility. India's diplomats are full and we are pleased that this visit to Finland will be completed."

In her speech, Mogherini said (it was delivered by another member on her behalf), “Our position on Kashmir remains unchanged: we encourage India and Pakistan to seek a peaceful and political solution, respectful of the interests of the Kashmiri population on both sides of the Line of Control. This remains the only way to solve a long-lasting dispute that for too long has caused instability and insecurity in the region. We remain concerned about the situation on the ground, with its restrictions on fundamental freedoms. It is crucial that freedom of movement and means of communication are fully restored as well as access to all essential services.”

Finland participated in the Nordic summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year and has been seen as an important partner for India’s development priorities. It is no coincidence that Jaishankar would be visiting Finland at a time when the Indian government is still debating on the best way to introduce 5G systems in the country, without a security vulnerability that Chinese companies would introduce. Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson are two companies who are also world leaders in 5G technologies. Among them Nokia has a long presence in India. This may be part of the conversation between the two leaders.