New Delhi: India and the European Union (EU) on Saturday (May 8) announced their decision to resume negotiations for a balanced and comprehensive trade agreement after a gap of eight years.
During the first-ever India+27 EU member states summit, an ambitious connectivity partnership was unveiled during the virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of the member nations.
India and the EU 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited the EU to support a proposal by India and South Africa to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines so that there can be equitable vaccine access for the entire world, officials said.
However, there was no concrete decision on the matter from the EU side, according to EU officials, reported news agency PTI.
Secretary(West) in the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said the two sides agreed to resume negotiations for a balanced and comprehensive free trade and investment agreements and that talks on both the pacts will be pursued on parallel tracks with an intention to achieve early conclusion of both of them.
At the summit, India and the EU launched an ambitious and comprehensive `Connectivity Partnership` which is focused on enhancing digital, energy, transport and people-to-people connectivity.
The Partnership is based on the shared principles of social, economic, fiscal, climate and environmental sustainability, and respect for international law and commitments. It 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.
On the connectivity partnership, MEA secretary Swarup said it reflected the ambition of both sides to build on their synergies and pursue sustainable joint projects in third countries, most notably in the Africa, Central Asia and Indo-Pacific region.
Emphasising the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism and terror financing in a comprehensive and sustained manner, the two sides welcomed the imminent conclusion of the Working Arrangement between Europol and India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, which will support coordination and synergies in preventing and fighting terrorism and organised crime.
In a series of tweets, Modi said, “I thank the leaders of EU and its Member States for their continued commitment to strengthening relationship with India. I also thank my friend Prime Minister @antoniocostapm for this initiative and according high priority to India during Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council.”
The EU also appreciated India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, which intends to promote international coordination and cooperation in the region.
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