Merkel, Modi discuss new proposal for India-EU trade deal, vaccine

Amid concerns in India over the EU-China trade deal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the imperative of expediting India-EU free trade agreement which the two sides have been negotiating for nearly two decades. In the telephonic converstion with PM Modi on January 6,  Ms Merkel conveyed that she has initiated a proposal on India-EU trade pact after conclusion of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). The long-negotiated India-EU trade deal figured in discussions in the larger conversation on India-EU relations.

To mark 70 years of diplomatic relations, the leaders of India and Germany held a video-conference and discussed issues of mutual importance, including COVID-19 pandemic and particularly India-EU relations. Mr Modi briefed Chancellor Merkel on the developments in India with regard to vaccine and India’s commitment to deploy its capacities for the benefit of the world. He conveyed his best wishes for early containment of the new wave of infections in Germany and other European countries, said a statement by Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr Modi appreciated the long-standing role of Chancellor Merkel in providing stable and strong leadership at the European and global stage, and thanked her for guiding the growth of the India-Germany Strategic Partnership, added MEA.He also welcomed Germany’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), and expressed his desire to further strengthen cooperation with Germany under the platform of Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

India to work closely with the EU

Both the EU and India have agreed to deepen cooperation in areas like climate change, maritime security, digital economy, connectivity, research and innovation, water and climate action, and civil nuclear cooperation. The last few months have seen increased engagement between India and European leadership.  2020 saw virtual summits of Indian PM with EU’s leadership and his counterparts from Denmark, Luxemburg, Italy. This year will see the India EU summit, likely in May in Portugal.France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Russia remain India’s four most important European partners. The two leaders decided to hold the sixth Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) at an early date in 2021 before Chancellor Merkel steps down from the top position later this year.

(Palak Chhabra contributed inputs for this article)



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