India-European Union (EU) Leaders Meeting:
Indian Prime Minister participated in the India-European Union (EU) Leaders Meeting.
- The meeting was held in a hybrid format with the participation of leaders of all the 27 EU Member States as well as the President of the European Council and the European Commission.
- This is the first time that the EU hosted a meeting with India in the EU+27 format.
- The meeting was the initiative of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Free Trade Negotiations:
- Agreed to relaunch free trade negotiations by resuming talks that were suspended for the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
- India and EU had launched talks for having a wide-ranging Free Trade Agreement (FTA), officially called broad-based BTIA, long ago in 2007.
- The BTIA was proposed to encompass trade in goods, services and investments.
- Launched an ambitious and comprehensive ‘Connectivity Partnership’ which is focused on enhancing digital, energy, transport and people-to-people connectivity.
- It 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.
- Also signed the contract for the second tranche of USD 150 million from the EU for the Pune Metro rail project.
- Reiterated their commitment to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and agreed to strengthen joint efforts for mitigation, adaptation, and resilience to the impacts of climate change, as well as providing means of implementation including finance in the context of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26).
- India welcomed the EU’s decision to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
- Agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on digital and emerging technologies such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Quantum, and High-Performance Computing including through the early operationalization of the Joint Task Force on AI and the Digital Investment Forum.
- Desired to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on a shared commitment to democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law, and multilateralism.
- India appreciated the prompt assistance provided by the EU and its member states to combat its second Covid wave.
- India also requested the EU’s support for its joint proposal with South Africa for a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) waiver on vaccine production-related patents in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
- Recently, the US has supported the proposal. However, India failed to secure the support of the European leaders