HM The King's speech at the state banquet in connection with the state visit to India

New Delhi, India

(The spoken version shall take precedence)

Mrs. Kovind,
Your Excellences,
Ladies and gentlemen

Let me first thank you, Mister President, for your kind words. I would also like to thank you and the first lady for the warm welcome the Queen and I have received. And we thank you for your gracious hospitality tonight.

Our first day here in Delhi has been both eventful and rewarding. We have got a taste of this vibrant and colourful city and we are very much looking forward to the rest of our visit in your interesting and enchanting country.

This, our second state visit to India, is an illustration of the close relations between our two countries.

Already in 1911, my great-uncle Prince Vilhelm travelled to India. And in 1926 his brother, my grandfather, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, travelled through India with his wife Crown Princess Louise.

Before we came here, I had the opportunity to study some of the photographs that they took on their respective journeys. Their pictures, I think, reflect a strong fascination with your diverse country; and it is one that I fully share.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to visit India on several occasions. The Queen and I were here for our first state visit in 1993, and we see tremendous change since then. I also visited your country with the Swedish Royal Technology Mission in 2005, and Crown Princess Victoria came here in 2008. Earlier this year, Prince Daniel also paid a short visit to India.

Conversely, the first-ever state visit by a President of India to Sweden took place in 2015. This gave great momentum to our bilateral relations, and since then there have been visits in both directions by our Prime Ministers, as well as many other ministerial and other delegations.

Through the years, I have had the pleasure of awarding no less than four acclaimed Indian scientists with the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize. Access to clean water is one of the most important challenges the world faces, and I look forward to learning more about the Clean Ganga program later on this week.

Sweden has a long history of investing in India, and over the last decades, Indian investment in Sweden has increased. As economic engagement and business relations strengthen between our countries, Swedish investments in India continue to grow.

Enhanced trade has also led to increased mobility. Today nearly 50 000 persons of Indian origin are living in Sweden. Through hard and successful work, they are making great contributions to our society. They form a strong human bridge between our countries, and we are honoured that they have chosen Sweden as their home.

Our relations are founded on common values. But we also have common challenges that we try to solve together through innovation, and by learning from each other.

Therefore, it is promising to see that the relationship between Sweden and India is getting stronger at all levels. Not least in the area of industry transition; an issue that will be crucial to tackling climate change, and where we are now working closely together.

New partnerships are created daily. New areas of cooperation are being launched as we speak. Together, Sweden and India can develop innovative solutions not just for the good of our own countries, but for a global market – and a global good.

The Queen and I very much look forward to the coming days, to learn more and to see more of this great country!

Already back in 1913, the first Indian was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, the great poet Tagore. And next week, I will have the pleasure to award the Nobel Prize in Economic Science to another Indian, Professor Banerjee.

Let me therefore end by once again thanking our hosts, and by quoting Tagore:

“Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not.
Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own.
Thou hast brought the distant near and made a brother of the stranger.”

I would like to propose a toast to you, Mr President, to the First Lady and to the people of India, for our continued cooperation and friendship.