On Monday 2 to Friday 6 December, The King and Queen visited India at the invitation of President Ram Nath Kovind. The aim of the state visit was to strengthen the good relations between the two countries, focusing on issues including trade, innovation, the climate and democracy.
The second day of the state visit began with the India Sweden Business Summit, arranged by Business Sweden and the Indian Industry Confederation. The King and Queen were welcomed by Fredrik Persson, chairman of the Swedish business delegation, and Ylva Berg, CEO of Business Sweden, who then introduced The King and Queen to the business delegation.
The King and Queen visited an exhibition at which Swedish businesses and solutions were presented to high-level Indian representatives.
The King was then welcomed by Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, and the India Sweden Business Summit – a bilateral discussion with more than 200 participants – began.
Together with Indian leaders, experts and international entrepreneurs, discussions were held on India's growth position in the new global economic landscape and how India's many opportunities can be realised while focusing on avoiding the barriers that foreign businesses and investors often encounter.
The Queen visited the All India Institute for Medical Science (AIIMS), one of India's leading public medical facilities. AIIMS is a tertiary referral hospital and a knowledge centre for Indian healthcare which offers free care.
The Queen took part in a round-table discussion on Sweden India Health Year and models within caring for the elderly and dementia. The discussions concluded a year-long programme of incoming and outgoing visits, in which Sweden's Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren participated in February 2019.
During the meeting, The Queen gave a speech in which she said:
"Sweden and India differ in many ways. But both our countries face the challenges of an ageing population. Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia.
"Today, around 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia. This number is expected to reach more than 130 million in 2050.
"This makes dementia one of the largest, most complex and challenging health issues facing humanity today."
Read The Queen's speech in full here.
The King visited the India Habitat Centre together with Minister Ibrahim Baylan to find out about methods for dealing with air pollution.
Air pollution is a challenge in many city centres, including in India. In recent years, a number of ambitious initiatives have been launched in India to reduce air pollution levels.
The King was given a demonstration of equipment to measure air pollution, developed by IIT Kanpur, Airtel and Ericsson. The King also saw innovative solutions for converting agricultural waste into usable products, developed by IKEA and Bioendev. Tetra Pak demonstrated its initiatives within the circular economy and recycling.
During a visit to the UN office in New Delhi, The Queen took part in a discussion on trafficking from an Indian perspective, including both cross-border trafficking in and out of India, and trafficking within the country. The Queen was welcomed by Ruchira Gupta, President and founder of the organisation Apne Aap.
During a meeting, The Queen gave an address in which she said:
"There are many reasons why people get drawn into prostitution. But the fact remains: The primary factor that drives trafficking and prostitution is that there is a demand for the purchase of sexual services. And where there is demand, sadly, there will also be supply. Including children.
"This is why I founded World Childhood Foundation twenty years ago: to put child sexual abuse and exploitation on the global agenda."
Read The Queen's address in full here.
Apne Aap is an Indian charity that strives to counter and prevent sex trafficking. The organisation works to empower girls and women by organising them into self-empowerment groups, where they work collectively to access their legal, social, economic, and political rights.
During the meeting, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) presented the current situation regarding sex trafficking in India and the underlying causes. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) gave a presentation on children in human trafficking.
The King and Queen had lunch with the Sweden Alumni Network India at the Oberoi Hotel, hosted by the Swedish Institute. The Swedish Institute has actively supported the formation of a network for former students and researchers at Swedish universities.
During the lunch, alumni spoke about their work for gender equality and sustainability within the Sweden Alumni Network India.
The King and Queen took part in a meeting with the India Sweden Business Leaders Round Table (ISBLRT). ISBLRT was established during Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's visit to India for the Make in India conference in 2016. This is a joint high-level platform for business leaders from Sweden and India to identify common challenges and opportunities.
Issues discussed during the meeting included research, innovation, investment, financing, trade, businesses and industrialisation – issues that are important in order to build strong and sustainable relationships between Sweden and India.
In the afternoon, The King and Queen visited the Swedish Embassy's official residence in New Delhi. The embassy opened in 1959, with Alva Myrdal as ambassador.
The King and Queen were welcomed by the current ambassador, Klas Molin.
In the evening, the Swedish Embassy hosted a dinner for 1,000 Indian and Swedish guests.