PM Narendra Modi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (File pic)
PM Narendra Modi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (File pic)

India, EU to explore meeting ground, start afresh on FTA during summit

ANI | Updated: Jul 13, 2020 21:29 IST

New Delhi [India], July 13 (ANI): India and EU will try and explore meeting ground on the scope of free trade agreement during the virtual summit on Wednesday with the leaders expected to start afresh on the issue which hit a pause button after intense negotiations that started 13 years ago, informed sources told ANI.
Bilateral trade of USD 100 billion makes the European Union one of India 's biggest trading partner.
Sources said it is a great time to explore a new paradigm in the economic relationship as there is an active debate in Europe on over-dependence on a particular supplier.
They said terms like economic sovereignty, which were never part of EU lexicon, are being debated and diversification of supply chain is also being evaluated by businesses.
Greater economic cooperation in healthcare is also of interest for India and EU.
A source said there may also be a discussion on Indian professionals working in EU, digital economy and new technologies. Each side will share their experiences and best practices. India is a net exporter of services to EU worth USD 40 billion.
The top hierarchy of EU and European commission including Charles Michel, President European Council and Ursula von der Leyen, President European Commission, are expected to take part in the meeting.
The new leadership has shown great interest in India, sources said, adding that they wanted to hold first summit-level meet with India but due to COVID outbreak readjustment took place.
EU leadership has had regular conversations at multiple levels with India and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had met EU leaders in February this year.
A source said new leadership is serious and believes the EU must play a more substantive global role and they attach priority to their relations with India.
India-EU summit will be a good opportunity for leaders on the two sides to know each other and draw a framework for coming years, a source said.
The sources said that COVID-19 will be on the top of the agenda and its impact goes beyond health. It has impacted the economic situation, impacted various sectors with contraction in global economy likely to be longer than initial estimates.
There is also a debate on post-COVID world and views have been expressed over "lack of leadership and lack of initiative to play a more coordinated role".
There are views concerning the US, Russia and China and the EU has been active through the crisis.
Sources said the functioning of global institutions like WHO, UN and UNSC will also figure during India-EU summit. India recently assumed office as a non-permanent member of UNSC and will also be chairing G20 in 2022. (ANI)

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