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Swedish Royals seek climate awareness, urge end of sexual violence in India

Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia seen during an interview with The Hindu in New Delhi on December 3, 2019.

Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia seen during an interview with The Hindu in New Delhi on December 3, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

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India and Sweden signed three agreements including one that will facilitate closer scientific research in polar science.

 India and Sweden should spread the awareness of climate change to the grassroots level to help create a front to meet the global challenge, said King Carl XVI Gustaf on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with The Hindu. The Swedish king urged Indian farmers to convert agricultural waste into a profitable business and Queen Silvia demanded a campaign to end sexual violence in India.

“It is important that we should keep discussing this question and it should remain on the table as by discussing it we can increase awareness from below and then it can push all the way up,” said King Carl XVI Gustaf. The royal couple arrived in India on Monday and met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Indian and Swedish delegates participated at the High Level Dialogue on Innovation Policy where future of science and technology collaboration between two sides were firmed up.

Both sides signed three agreements on Monday including one that will facilitate closer scientific research in polar science.

The Swedish king expressed concern about stubble burning in the agricultural fields in northern India and proposed that farmers should be trained in the new ways of disposing off agricultural wastes in a profitable manner.

“There are Swedish companies that can turn dry stubble into tissues, textile, and furniture. They can make the stubble into compressed pellets which the farmers can sell. This can help generate work for farmers in the countryside,” said King Carl XVI Gustaf.

The royal couple who are on their third visit to India said that India has progressively become aware of the threat of climate change and the challenges that it poses to the health and economy of the people. The royals will travel to Mumbai on Wednesday and will proceed to Rishikesh and Haridwar in Uttarakhand where they will inaugurate a sewage treatment plant. Apart from official engagements they also attended on Tuesday a meeting on air pollution and an interaction on trafficking and gender violence.

“You have to inform the population and you have to deal with this question and create a campaign for it. It's present in many countries and for many years we dealt with this in Sweden,” said Queen Silvia.

The king said, that there are many possibilities to expand contacts between India and Sweden in areas like energy, environment and innovation and said that both sides should create an environment for investments, adding “We want to see some investment from companies in the Indian side.”

Pointing at the number of Nobel prize winners from India since the beginning of the prize in the last century, the king acknowledged that the Nobel prizes won by Indians from Ravindranath Tagore, to Abhijit Banerjee indicate high quality of research and academics in the country.

India and Sweden were part of the global disarmament campaign for many years and the Swedish king remarked that both sides think similarly on such globally relevant issues. “India is the largest democracy and Sweden is also a democratic country and we cope quite well when it comes to this kind of countries. We are working together in different UN missions round the world for peace. It is easy to work together as we understand each other well,” said King Carl XVI Gustaf referring to Sweden's global campaign for disarmament.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:53:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/interview-with-swedens-king-carl-xvi-gustaf-and-queen-silvia-in-new-delhi/article30152215.ece

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