Outlining current global challenges at the India-EU Summit, Modi lamented the fact that the rules-based international order has come under pressure, in a subtle hint that several countries are getting more protectionist.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for further bolstering of ties with the EU, cutting across several areas of mutual interests, including trade, investment and climate change.
Outlining current global challenges at the India-EU Summit, Modi lamented the fact that the rules-based international order has come under pressure, in a subtle hint that several countries are getting more protectionist. The summit comes in the midst of China’s now-deescalating border friction with India.
India and the EU are setting up a high-level dialogue on trade and investments, including on all market and trade issues and supply chain dynamics. The two sides have expressed their commitment for a mutually balanced and favourable trade and investment agreement.
The Covid-19 crisis has thrown up multiple and complex economic problems in the world, Modi said, adding that like the EU, he too, is in favour of a deeper and broad-based relationship with the 27-member bloc. He called for India and the EU to work on an action-oriented agenda with a fixed timeframe for implementation towards this objective.
Identifying the imperative of concerted India-EU action to combat climate change which poses a long-term challenge, Modi said he welcomes EU investments and technology in India’s push towards renewable energy.
PM pointed out that India and the EU are natural partners in ensuring peace and stability in the world and this assumes more importance in the current context. Shared values of pluralism, multilateralism, freedom and transparency are an asset in this partnership, he asserted.
In his opening remarks, president of the European Council Charles Michel said that India and the EU are partners in trade and investment and this summit is an opportunity to find ways to build on and create a stable and structured partnership.
The Indian delegation at the summit was led by Modi while the European side was led by Michel and the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
The summit comes after a gap of almost three years since the 14th India-EU Summit held on October 6, 2017, in New Delhi. There is a new leadership in EU Council and Commission which holds promise of setting a long-term perspective to develop relations in a challenging global environment.
Meanwhile, after 16 rounds of talks between 2007 and 2013, negotiations for an India-EU FTA were stuck due to differences over the bloc’s demand for a sharp cut in tariffs on auto parts and wine by New Delhi, among others. Both the sides, however, were trying to revive the trade talks earlier this year when the Covid-19 hit, forcing authorities to shift focus to tackling the pandemic.
The EU is of great strategic importance to India and was New Delhi’s largest trading partner (as a bloc) in 2018. India’s bilateral trade with the EU in 2018-19 stood at $115.6 billion with exports valued at $57.17 billion and imports worth $58.42 billion. Trade in services was valued at $40 billion, with India enjoying a slight surplus.