India and Norway on Tuesday agreed to intensify cooperation in ocean economy and work closely on UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) following talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg.

The MoU was signed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Soreide at a ceremony at the Hyderabad House.

“The Sustainable Development Goals match India’s growth targets,” Modi said at a joint media interaction with the Norwegian PM after talks between the two leaders. The Norwegian PM is in India to inaugurate the ‘Raisina Dialogue’, a key foreign policy event hosted by the External Affairs Ministry.

Referring to Solberg inaugurating Norway’s new green Embassy here on Monday, he said she has contributed significantly to global efforts to achieve the SDGs.

“Prime Minister Solberg has given a lot of encouragement to global efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Stating that trade and investment form an important part of the India-Norway bilateral relationship, Modi said that Norway’s Government Pension Fund has made a portfolio investment of around $12 billion in India.

“I believe Norwegian companies will benefit from India’s immense potential in both portfolio investment and foreign direct investment in the days to come,” he said.

Stating that 15 per cent of India’s population lives in coastal areas, he said these people’s lives are directly linked to the ocean economy. Referring to Norway’s immense experience in the ocean economy, he said that 70 per cent of that country’s exports is in the maritime industry. He said the agreement on bilateral ocean dialogue will give a new direction to cooperation in all sectors in this area.

On her part, Solberg said that the world will not be able to achieve the SDGs if India is not on board.

Referring to her personal interest in women’s empowerment, she said that India has been working hard in this area.

Solberg said both India and Norway have agreed to increase cooperation in ocean economy. “It will create more jobs and more medicine,” she said.