European Union virtual summit to give bilateral trade negotiations major push

Andrew Cummings
July 16, 2020

Outlining current global challenges at the India-EU Summit, Modi lamented the fact that the rules-based worldwide order has come under pressure, in a subtle hint that several countries are getting more protectionist.

The EU is of great strategic importance to India and was New Delhi's largest trading partner (as a bloc) in 2018.

The summit comes after a gap of nearly three years since the 14th India-EU Summit held on October 6, 2017, in New Delhi.

India and the 27-nation European Union on Wednesday made a decision to set up a high-level dialogue to enhance trade and investment and iron out lingering differences over the long-pending free trade agreement, while vowing to expand their overall ties in areas like defence, nuclear energy and health, during a virtual summit.

Talking about various challenges, PM Modi said climate change is a priority for India and the EU. Both sides may explore ways to once again begin talks on a free trade agreement on which a "pause" button had been pressed in the past.

"Vikas Swarup, Secretary west, MEA said", PM shared our views on India-China relations in general and the current situation at the border areas".

The EU also looks forward to cooperating with the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) launched by India to ensure that infrastructures are resilient to climate change, it added.

Both agreed to further collaborate in research and innovation based on the principles of mutual benefit and reciprocity, as established in the India-EU Agreement on Science and Technology concluded in 2001, which expired on May 17.

A joint statement said India and the European Union "reaffirmed their commitment to work towards balanced, ambitious and mutually beneficial trade and investment agreements, opening markets and creating a level playing field on both sides".

Both sides agreed to cooperate in developing a vaccine for COVID-19.

A joint statement issued after the talks said the high-level dialogue on trade and investment will aim at fostering progress on the trade and investment agreements, addressing trade irritants and improving conditions for traders and investors on both sides as well as discuss supply chain linkages. "We can relate to being democracies and defending our values", she said. There are different types of pressures on the rules-based worldwide order.

Asked whether human rights issues in the context of Jammu and Kashmir and Citizenship Amendment Act figured in the talks, Swarup said it was mentioned by the European Union side and that they expressed the faith in Indian institutions in addressing them. Along with this, an action-oriented agenda should be created, which can be implemented within the stipulated time frame. "Like you, I am also committed to making our relations deep and comprehensive", the prime minister said. The top EU dignitaries the EAM had met then included Mr. Michel, President of the European Council of Heads of Government of the 27 member states of the EU.

"Both sides share universal values??like democracy, pluralism, inclusivity, respect for global institutions, multilateralism, freedom and transparency". "Our partnership is important for global peace and stability, and this reality is clearer given the situation around the world", he added. The other key areas are artificial intelligence, digital field, security and trade.

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