India, EU launch Connectivity Partnership to transform ties, reopen trade and investment negotiations

India and the EU on Saturday launched a sustainable and comprehensive Connectivity Partnership, aiming at furthering cooperation on trade and investment, transport, energy, digital and people-to-people contacts

May 09, 2021
India-EU (File)

India and the EU on Saturday launched a sustainable and comprehensive Connectivity Partnership, aiming at furthering cooperation on trade and investment, transport, energy, digital and people-to-people contacts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted virtually with all leaders of the EU member nations in the India-EU Leaders meeting in Porto, Portugal, as the meeting is the first such gathering in the EU+27 format.

After the talks the two sides agreed to build on their convergences and foster new synergies for jointly contributing to a safer, greener, cleaner, more digital, resilient and stable world.

"Our stronger partnership is essential for achieving peace and prosperity for our peoples. We welcomed the resumption of negotiations for Trade and Investment Agreements, as well as our new Connectivity Partnership," Modi said in a tweet.

The leaders welcomed the decision to resume negotiations for balanced and comprehensive free trade and investment agreements.

Negotiations on both the Trade and Investment Agreements will be pursued on parallel tracks with an intention to achieve early conclusion of both agreements together.

"This is a major outcome which will enable the two sides to realise the full potential of the economic partnership, " said the Prime Minister's Office.

The EU is India’s biggest trading partner and the second-largest destination for Indian exports. Trade between the EU and India have increased 72 per cent in the last decade.

The EU is also the leading foreign investor in India. Its share in foreign investment inflows has more than doubled in the last decade. Some 6,000 European companies are present in India, generating 1.7 million direct and 5 million indirect jobs.

Talks on trade have been stalled for eight years, IBNS said. 

In a joint statement, the leaders said the Connectivity Partnership upholds international law, conforms with international norms and affirms the shared values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for international commitments.

"Our Partnership will promote a transparent, viable, inclusive, sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based connectivity. It is based on principles of social, economic, fiscal, climate and environmental sustainability and a level playing field for economic operators," they said.

In the context of facilitating large-scale private investments in sustainable connectivity, the leaders expressed their commitment to implementing relevant international standards, including to ensure reciprocal access to markets.

"We aim at enhancing and widening cooperation between us through projects, including with third countries and regions, notably in Africa, Central Asia and the Indo-Pacific, in order to build digital, energy, transport and people-to-people connectivity."

In this regard, they recognised the key role of the private sector and the importance of enabling private financing to achieve our goals.

The Partnership will synergise the countries' efforts with the work of the multilateral development banks, including the European Investment Bank and public and private financial institutions of the EU Member States and India for promoting sustainable infrastructure projects.

The leaders also discussed the strengthening of the EU-India Strategic Partnership on trade and technology and said they will focus on a way forward to facilitate bilateral trade and investment, while advancing WTO reform.

The leaders reiterated their joint determination to foster green growth to protect the planet, n line with the Paris Agreement, and in the run-up to COP26 and Biodiversity COP15.

Finally, the leaders agreed on coordination and cooperation on foreign and security affairs issues of mutual interest and in the Indo-Pacific.

Coinciding with the Leaders’ Meeting, an India-EU Business Roundtable was organised to highlight the avenues for cooperation in climate, digital and healthcare.

A finance contract of Euro 150 million for the Pune Metro Rail Project was signed by the Ministry of Finance and the European Investment Bank.

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