Berlin, May 8: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday participated in a European Council (EU) meeting as a special invitee via video conference. The India-EU Summit 2021 was also attended by leaders of the heads of 27 European countries. The leaders also exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare cooperation. The EU pledged to help India in fighting the second wave of COVID-19. India and EU Hold Virtual Summit to Boost Overall Ties.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in a tweet, said, “Today’s meeting with Narendra Modi could not be more timely. The EU stands at India’s side in this most challenging time. We will also discuss how to further strengthen our strategic partnership. The EU and IN can achieve a lot more by working “Ek Saath” – together.” Ursula von der Leyen also added that It was a remarkable Summit because it widened the scope and the view on the untapped potential in the relationship of the European Union and India.
The EU Commissioner further added, “17 EU Members States have supported a worth over 100 million Euros of supply that has been brought to India & is being brought in the next days through the EU Civil Protection mechanism & further assistance will follow.” ‘Closer Collaboration in Digital Skilling, R&D to Strengthen India-EU Partnership’.
A joint statement of the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting stated, “We deeply condoled the loss of lives and expressed the deepest sympathy with the families of the victims of this pandemic in India, Europe and the rest of the world.” The statement further added that India appreciated the EU’s and its Member States’ quick support and assistance, coordinated through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
India-EU Leaders’ meeting was an initiative of Portuguese President that holds the presidency of the Council of EU. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi termed today’s summit as pivotal moment. He tweeted, ” A pivotal moment! PM @narendramodi interacts with all leaders of EU Member States along with Presidents @eucopresident & @vonderleyen #IndiaEU Leaders meet for the 1st time in EU+27 format. Reflects a strong political will to deepen the India- EU relations.”
The MEA, in a statement, said.,” In his initial remarks, Prime Minister (PM Modi) talked about the rationale of stronger relationship of India not just with EU but with all EU member states & described India-EU strategic partnership as force multiplier for global goods in 21st century.”
PM Modi was scheduled to visit Portugal for the leaders’ meeting but it was called off in view of the coronavirus crisis, and both sides decided to hold the deliberations virtually. A strategically important grouping, the EU as a whole was India’s largest trading partner in 2018. India’s bilateral trade with the EU in 2018-19 stood at USD 115.6 billion, with exports valued at USD 57.17 billion and imports worth USD 58.42 billion.
Notably, India is witnessing the second wave of COVID-19. The country reported 4,187 deaths due to coronavirus in the past 24 hours — the highest so far, along with 4,01,078 fresh cases, taking the total number of cases in the country to 2,18,92,676. It is the fourth time after May 1 that India has crossed the four-lakh mark of new cases in a day. On Friday, India recorded 4,14,188 cases
Source: Team Latestly