Interaction with H.E. Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg, Norway’s Ambassador to India
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Amid growing uncertainties over Brexit, especially in the Eurozone and the UK, the VIF invited Norway’s current Ambassador to India, H.E. Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, on November 28, 2016, for a talk on the current state of play in Europe in post Brexit. General NC Vij, Director VIF, welcomed the visiting dignitary and introduced him to the VIF faculty.

While General Vij’s opening remarks highlighted exchanges taking place at the highest political levels at regular intervals leading to significant improvement in the bilateral ties between the two countries, it also reflected his deep appreciation for Norway’s impressive performance in terms of human development index as also per capita income. The Director, however, was also appreciative of the fact that Norway was among the first few countries that recognized India’s independence in 1947.

His Excellency Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, for his part, equally reciprocated the Director’s sentiments. Parts of his speech focused on his country’s economic and social security policies, especially the state pension fund, which have drawn the attention of many countries, including India, towards Norway. Besides, the Norwegian Ambassador also shed significant light on Norway’s modular relations with the European Union (EU), which according to some experts, Britain possibly can replicate with a few adjustments for its relations with the European Union in post Brexit. Incidentally, as a non-EU member Norway has access to the most of Europe’s single market through the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. In return for its access to Europe’s single market, Norway is obliged to implement all of EU’s laws relating to the internal market, including the market’s working hours. As a result, Norway has had to implement about three-quarters of all EU legislations, sometimes even without debates. Although Norway retains the right to veto any of the legislations passed by the EU, H.E. Kamsvag did mention that it could lead to retaliatory measures.

The Ambassador through his talk laid out implications of any such arrangement if the UK were to adopt especially the Norwegian model. Besides, the Norwegian Ambassador also discussed the likely impact of Trump’s Presidency on the U.S.-Europe relationship, the relationship between Europe and Russia and the migration problem in Europe, among other issues.

A lively interactive session followed the talk during which the visiting Norwegian Ambassador answered a large number of questions. Questions generally related to the diminishing relevance and significance of Europe as an influential global player, the growing trends of sub-nationalism across Europe, the likely impact on Europe of any potential change in the U.S. policies towards Russia under a new President, and the potential trajectory of the transatlantic relationship, among others. With General Vij in the Chair, Gen R K Sawhney, AmbPrabhat P Shukla, Amb D P Srivastava and Amb Ashok K Kantha, among others, interacted with the Norwegian Ambassador.

Event Date 
November 28, 2016
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