Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday pitched for bringing out an action-oriented agenda within a stipulated time frame to further expand ties between India and the 27-nation European Union. In his inaugural remarks at the 15th EU-India summit, the PM said he was committed to enhancing ties with the grouping, noting that a long-term strategic perspective should be adopted to boost the relationship.
"I'm committed to deepening the relations between India and the EU. For this, we must adopt a long-term strategic perspective. We should go for an action-oriented agenda to expand ties and it can be implemented within a stipulated time frame," PM Modi said at the virtual summit.
He said, "Due to COVID-19 we had to postpone the India-EU Summit in March. The good thing is that today we are able to meet through the virtual medium. First of all, I express my condolences for the damage caused by Coronavirus in Europe. Thanks for your initial comments."
Calling India and EU "natural partners", PM Modi said the partnership is beneficial for peace and stability in the world. "India and the EU are natural partners. Our partnership is also useful for peace and stability in the world. This reality has become even more evident in today's global situation," said the PM.
The prime minister said both India and EU share universal values like democracy, pluralism, respect for international institutions, inclusivity, multilateralism, freedom and transparency. He also said, "After COVID-19, new problems have arisen globally in the economic field. This requires greater cooperation between democratic nations."
The PM highlighted that due to the coronavirus COVID-19, both the "health and prosperity of our citizens are facing challenges" and "there are a variety of pressures on the rules-based international order". "India-EU partnership can play an important role in economic reconstruction, and in building human-centric and human-centric globalisation. Apart from the current challenges, long-term challenges like climate change are also a priority for both of us," he added.
The PM extended an invitation to investment and technology from Europe. "In our efforts to increase the use of renewable energy in India, we invite investment and technology from Europe. I hope that through this Virtual Summit our relations will gain momentum," he further said.
The European Union delegation at the summit is headed by President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The EU is a strategically important grouping for India.
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.