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15th India-EU summit to be held via video conference on July 15

15th India-EU summit to be held via video conference on July 15

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding talks with the President of the European, Council Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.  The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, will also participate in the talk. 

The summit will be an opportunity to strengthen the EU-India Strategic partnership. The leaders will also discuss how to further develop their trade and investment relations and support sustainable growth and jobs on both sides. 

The EU is India’s largest trading partner, whilst India is the EU’s 9th largest partner. Latest data on trade in bilateral goods and services register nearing 150 Billion dollars. Both sides are also willing to re-engage for negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually-beneficial Free Trade Agreement. The first round of negotiations was launched in 2007 but suspended after 6 years in 2013 due to a gap in the level of ambition between the EU and India. The EU is the second-largest destination for Indian exports after the USA. The EU’s share in foreign investment inflows to India has more than doubled from 8% to 18% in the last decade, making the EU the first foreign investor in India. The EU’s foreign direct investment stocks in India is also significant but way below to EU foreign investment stocks in China (€175 billion) or Brazil (€312 billion). Some 6,000 European companies are present in India, providing directly 1.7 million jobs and indirectly 5 million jobs in a broad range of sectors. Indian companies invested over €50 billion in Europe since 2000. 

The summit is happening at a time when the world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier PM Modi and European commission president have also exchanged letters expressing commitment and cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. The summit will be an opportunity to discuss and identify synergies in healthcare, the production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, research and development, diagnostics and treatment. The leaders are expected to call for the future COVID-19 vaccine to become a global common good. They will also discuss the importance of the manufacturing of medical supplies and ensuring a continued flow of these. At the same time, the discussion will also underline the importance of information sharing and of improving the international response through the relevant international organisations, in particular the World Health Organisation.

The EU India summit will also delve upon global and regional issues. The leaders are expected to reaffirm their determination to promote effective multilateralism and the rules-based multilateral order with the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core. They will discuss the reform of the WTO and coordination on global economic governance in the framework of the G20. India will hold the G20 Presidency in 2022 and will be a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period 2021-2022. At the Summit, the discussion is also expected on several pressing situations in the EU’s and India’s immediate neighbourhoods. Sources said that the ongoing tension along the Line of Actual Control with China, cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and prospects for peace in Afghanistan may also come up for discussion during the summit.

The leaders will discuss cooperation in security, climate, environment, trade and investment, digital economy and connectivity. A joint summit statement and a new joint Agenda for Cooperation, the Roadmap 2025, are expected to be adopted by the leaders, alongside other deliverables. 

The leaders will also discuss ways to harness human-centric digitalisation to develop inclusive economies and societies, including as regards data protection, 5G and artificial intelligence. The leaders will discuss the promotion of transparent, viable, inclusive, sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based connectivity, and the importance of seeking synergies. 

Towards the conclusion of the summit a futuristic document ‘A Roadmap to 2025″ is expected to be adopted by both the sides. The document will guide cooperation between the EU and India over the next five years. There will also be a joint summit statement summarising the results of the meeting.