PM Modi to address EU leaders-India, EU to launch Connectivity Partnership

08-05-2021

New Delhi, May 8 (UNI) India on Saturday will launch a Connectivity Partnership with the EU, aiming at furthering the cooperation on transport, energy, digital and people-to-people contacts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will collectively interact virtually with all leaders of EU member nations in the India-EU Leaders meeting in Porto, Portugal, as the meeting is first such gathering in the EU+27 format.

The meeting will provide an opportunity to give a new impetus to trade and investment negotiations between India and the EU.

The EU is India's biggest trading partner and the second largest destination for Indian exports. Trade between the EU and India has increased 72 per cent in the last decade.

The EU is also the leading foreign investor in India. Its share in foreign investment inflows has more than doubled in the last decade. Some 6,000 European companies are present in India, generating 1.7 million direct and 5 million indirect jobs.

Growing investments from India in recent years have also meant active presence of Indian companies in the EU as well.

It is the right time, both side say, to resume negotiations toward an ambitious and balanced trade agreement capable of acting as a key driver for sustainable growth and jobs creation, both for India and Europe.

"The negotiation of an EU wide investment protection framework would provide greater stability and certainty to companies from India and EU to expand their presence in each other's markets," said prime minister Modi and his Portugal counterpart Antonio Costa in an open article on Politico.eu, which External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called "forward- looking."

India and the EU have supported each other and the rest of the world during the coronavirus pandemic,

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.

Portugal and India have always played a unique role in bringing the two continents together.. Portugal hosted the first ever EU-India Summit in Lisbon, during the 2000 Portuguese EU Presidency and India hosted the eighth EU-India Summit in New Delhi, in 2007, also during a Portuguese Presidency.

"The journey together between the EU & India will be continued and advanced in search of new routes of political, economic and technological cooperation, with enormous potential for mutual benefit," said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.