Europe opportunity: EU invites PM Modi for India-EU summit


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during a press conference after talks with the German Chancellor in Berlin on April 14, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZ

 

Barely months after his successful visits to Germany and France, Prime Minister Narendra Modi look set to galvanize India’s multifarious relations with the 28-nation European Union later this year.

The EU has sent an invite to Mr Modi to attend the India-EU summit in Brussels, said Minister of State for External Affairs V.K Singh. The summit is expected to be held before or after the G20 summit in November.

“The Summit will provide an opportunity for taking stock of the ongoing cooperation between India and EU and explore ways of further energising bilateral collaboration in areas of mutual interest, including exchange of views on global issues of mutual interest and concern”, said Mr Singh.

The prime ministerial visit will focus on expanding economic and strategic relations with the EU, India’s largest trading partner. Bilateral trade between India and the EU has surged to  USD 101.5 billion (FY 2013-14). The total FDI equity inflows into India from EU was around USD 8,207 million during 2014-15. But these figures only reflect the tip of the iceberg, given huge untapped potential of India-EU relations. The two sides will, therefore, be looking to give a decisive push to the long-dragging deal on a broad-based economic agreement which they have been negotiating for years.

Mr Modi was keen to engage the EU during his trip to France and Germany in April this year, but the EU cold-shouldered his request apparently to register disappointment with India’s slow progress on the trial of the two Italian marines who were accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012.