New Delhi: India and Norway held Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) on Tuesday and discussed ways to expand and diversify bilateral cooperation in a range of areas including blue economy, renewable energy, climate and environment and green hydrogen.

The two countries also lauded the signing of India-EFTA TEPA this year in March and hoped to expedite the implementation of the agreement at the earliest, which will further enhance bilateral trade and investment.

India-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) signed the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) on March 10 this year.

India has been working on a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with EFTA countries comprising Switzerland, Iceland, Norway & Liechtenstein. The Union Cabinet chaired had approved signing of the TEPA with EFTA states. EFTA is an inter-governmental organization set up in 1960 for the promotion of free trade and economic integration for the benefit of its four member States.

The Indian delegation at the 11th India-Norway Foreign Office Consultations was led by Pavan Kapoor, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs.

The Norwegian delegation was led by Torgeir Larsen, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway.

The last FOC took place in Oslo in November 2022.

Ministry of External Affairs said in a release that the relationship between India and Norway is marked by "excellent political exchanges, and extensive bilateral institutional mechanisms".

"Cooperation in the blue economy for sustainable development, including in marine and maritime sectors, is the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship between the two countries," the release said.

"Acknowledging the strong collaboration in various sectors, both sides discussed ways to expand and diversify bilateral cooperation in the fields of blue economy, renewable energy, climate and environment, CCUS, green hydrogen, solar and wind projects, green shipping, fisheries, water management, space cooperation, cooperation in the Arctic, education and culture," it added.

Both sides also had preliminary discussions about the next India-Nordic Summit, which is expected to be held later this year in Oslo.

They also exchanged views on UN reforms, especially in the context of the Summit of the Future.

There was a good exchange of views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, the releae said.

Both sides agreed to hold the next round of consultations in Oslo at a mutually convenient date.

Norwegian Ambassador to India May-Elin Stener later said the two countries held successful Foreign Office Consultations

Successful Foreign office Consultations between India and Norway in New Delhi today. Led by @AmbKapoor @ttlar we discussed our growing and robust partnership. Norway, as part of EFTA & India have recently signed a historic trade deal, and more areas of cooperation on the rise!" the ambassador said in a post on X.

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