Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the much-awaited India-EU Leaders' Summit with the Heads of 27 EU Member States on Saturday. The virtual meeting is being hosted by Portuguese PM António Costa as Portugal currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The leaders will exchange views on the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare cooperation; fostering sustainable and inclusive growth; strengthening the India-EU economic partnership as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest. The leaders are set to negotiate on 3 important agreements including a) Trade, investment and geographical indications; b) Connectivity Partnership and Human Rights Dialogue c) Closer security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
India-EU is also set to relaunch FTA talks and discuss post-pandemic implications of recovery at the Summit. EU leaders are expected to express solidarity with India in its fight against the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The leaders are also discussing cooperation to build a more resilient global healthcare system with a key focus on future pandemic preparedness and strengthening the World Health Organisation.
“The India-EU Leaders’ Meeting is an unprecedented opportunity for discussion with all the leaders of the EU Member States. It is a significant political milestone and will further build on the momentum witnessed in the relationship since the 15th India-EU Summit in July 2020,” the government had said in a statement on Thursday.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council said the EU and India stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against COVID-19. “We are delivering equipment to the people of India and working to boost vaccine production. We are also committed to doing our part to tackle climate change and meeting the Paris goals,” he tweeted.
The Porto EU-India Leaders’ Meeting promises to be a pivotal moment in this regard, giving new momentum to the partnership between the world’s two largest democratic spaces, made up of over 1.8 billion people. This dialogue will be crucial to rebalancing relations between the EU and the Indo-Pacific.
EU-India relations have always been marked by mutual support and solidarity. This has been evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when both have supported each other and the rest of the world. India extended medical supplies to Europe earlier and now the EU has extended assistance to India as it experiences a second wave of COVID-19.