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#tbt -Norwegian Prime Minister Gerhardson’s visit to India in 1958

It’s #ThrowbackThursday #tbt time! We recently chanced upon a speech by Mr. Einar Gerhardsen, former Prime Minister of Norway who visited India in 1958. He was accompanied by the then Foreign Minister Mr. Halvard Lange. During the visit, different schemes of economic co-operation were proposed between India and Norway, such as an Air Transport Agreement, the conclusion of Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements and establishment of direct Radio-telegraph links between India and Norway. Mr Gerhardsen visited among several places, the city of Mumbai, the state of Kerala as well as New Delhi where he also gave a speech at Indian Parliament. Here is an unofficial translation of the speech from Norwegian.

Mr President,

Members of the Indian national assembly.

It is with a humble feeling that I, a representative from one of the world’s smallest democracies, stand before the Parliament in the world’s largest democratic nation. Let me just say that I recognize the great honour given to my country, and that I do this with delight.

Our countries are situated far apart, and our people live under very different conditions. It is also evident that the difference in size also means different levels of influence on international matters. Nevertheless, I am happy to establish the many similarities in the work for international détente and peace within the politics of our two countries. I would particularly like to underline how important it is that the population of both the countries are committed to democratic principles.

The Norwegian people are following with deep admiration the determined work that is taking place in India to create material and cultural progress for the entire Indian population.  We know that this is important not only for India. Due to India’s position in Asia and in the world, the political, economic and social development in this country will have an impact on global developments in years to come. It is from this perspective that we with profound interest follow the development in this country.

May I mention that in Norway we are especially happy that Norwegian scientists and specialists has had the opportunity to cooperate with Indian colleagues on Indian soil. For 6 years Indian and Norwegian fishery experts has cooperated on a project on the coast of Kerala. In my country fisheries is one of the most important branches of industry, and the Norwegian costal population has from time immemorial obtained means of livelihood through fishing. Therefore, we feel that we possess a certain level of experience in this field, and it has been a pleasure for our experts to contribute to the cooperation with Indian colleagues in Kerala. It appears to me that such a project is a positive example on how large and small countries can cooperate with a joint outcome.

However, the paramount question in the world today is how we can safeguard the peace, and thorough détente and disarmament create the foundation for lasting peace. In Norway, we deeply appreciate the Indian contributions to the UN, as well as efforts on détente and peace within people to people relations, and we are happy that India’s efforts in this area is carried forward by a great statesman such as Jawaharlal Nehru. 

May I with these words convey to the Indian Parliament the best wishes of a happy and peaceful future for the people of India.

Mr. Einar Gerhardsen, arrived in Bombay on December 9, in the course of his visit to India. The photo shows the visiting Prime Minister driving with the Chief Minister of Bombay, Shri Chavan, soon after arrival in Bombay.