India participated in the first-ever meeting with the Heads of 27 European Union member states at the invitation of the President of the European Council Mr. Charles Michel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting via video conference on 8 May 2021 recalling the 15th India-EU Summit, where leaders agreed to promote jointly a transparent, viable, inclusive, sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based approach to connectivity. In this India-EU meeting, the leaders underpinned Strategic Partnership initiatives and agreed to build a sustainable and comprehensive Connectivity Partnership.
Based on a shared commitment to democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law and multilateralism PM Modi and EU+27 leaders deliberated on three key thematic areas: i) foreign policy and security; ii) COVID-19, climate and environment; and iii) trade, connectivity and technology.
India expressed its gratitude for the prompt assistance provided by the EU and its member states to combat the country’s second COVID wave.
Balanced and Comprehensive Trade
The leaders deliberated upon the decision to resume negotiations on both the Trade and Investment Agreements on the basis of a free, balanced and comprehensive strategy. This will be pursued on parallel tracks with an intention to draw a conclusion of both agreements together.
In order to realise the full potential of the economic partnership, India and the EU also announced dedicated dialogues on WTO issues, regulatory cooperation, market access issues and supply chain resilience, acting upon the desire to deepen and further diversify economic engagement.
Connectivity Partnership in alignment with the India-EU 2025 Roadmap
India and the EU have agreed upon an ambitious and comprehensive ‘Connectivity Partnership’ focused on enhancing digital, energy, transport and people-to-people connectivity which is based on the shared principles of social, economic, fiscal, climate and environmental sustainability, and respect for international law and commitments.
“The Partnership will catalyse private and public financing for connectivity projects. It will also foster new synergies for supporting connectivity initiatives in third countries, including in the Indo-Pacific,” states the Ministry of External Affairs.
Joint Climate Action
On Climate Action, India and the EU leaders reaffirmed a shared commitment to pursue implementation of international goals, obligations and commitments against Climate Change such as the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, statements of the Asia-Europe Meeting of October 2018, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, International Labour Organisation Conventions and the “Call for Action: Raising Ambition for Climate Adaptation and Resilience”.
Welcoming the EU’s decision to join CDRI, India also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on digital and emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, Quantum and High-Performance Computing including through the early operationalization of the Joint Task Force on AI and the Digital Investment Forum.
India-EU Convergence on regional and Global Issues
Both India and the European Union acclaimed their growing convergences on regional and global issues, including counterterrorism, cybersecurity and maritime cooperation. Acknowledging the importance of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific, the leaders agreed to closely engage in the region, particularly India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative and the EU’s new strategy on the Indo-Pacific.
An India-EU Business Roundtable was also organised to highlight the avenues for cooperation in climate, digital and healthcare wherein a finance contract of Euro 150 million for the Pune Metro Rail Project was signed by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and European Investment Bank.
In the long-term, this India-EU Leaders Meeting has created a significant milestone for both parties by providing a new direction to the Strategic-Connectivity Partnership which is an impetus for the ambitious India-EU Roadmap 2025 adopted at the 15th India-EU Summit held in July last year.