(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, thank you for this lovely lunch!
Some years ago, I heard a story, about true love. A young man from India met a woman from Sweden when she was traveling here in India. They fell in love, but she had to go back to Sweden and he didn’t have enough money to go with her.
He was desperate to see her again, but with almost no money it was impossible. Unless, of course, he took his bicycle! Which he did - and about a year later, he arrived in Borås. And the rest is history.
Strong relationships are crucial for us humans. The same goes for countries, especially for small countries like Sweden. We depend on good relations, not least for trade.
And here we are in India, a country with a population 136 times bigger than ours. That makes me quite humble. Imagine the potential!
Of course we Swedes have a lot to be proud of; our welfare and education systems for example, and our great companies, many of whom have been around for hundreds of years – and all the new ones that are changing society.
Another thing that I am very proud of is Sweden’s openness to the world around us. All the diplomats and business people that are stationed here in India; you are living proof of that! Thank you for your commitment!
During the lunch I hope you have had the chance to hear about the “Swedish Industry for Quality Education in India” project together with Pratham.
I am so excited about tomorrow and the visit to the project! I am sure we will learn a lot.
So once again, Ambassador, ladies and gentlemen: thank you!