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PM Modi, EU’s Von Der Leyen discuss ways to step up trade, tech, security links

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday discussed a wide range of regional and global issues while also agreeing to establish an EU-India Trade and Technology Council.

“We reviewed the full range of India-EU ties including economic and cultural linkages,” Modi said.

After the meeting, Von Der Leyen said that strengthening the EU and India partnership is a key priority for this decade. “We will step up cooperation in trade, technology and security,” she said.

It is the 60th anniversary of relations between the EU and India. “Today, our relationship is more important than ever. We have so much in common. We are vibrant democracies, we both support wholeheartedly the rules-based international order and we have both large economies, and we are both facing a challenging global landscape,” she said.

Von Der Leyen stressed that for the European Union, the partnership with India is one of the most important relationships for the coming decade and strengthening this partnership is a priority.

“And here, I am thinking of three main topics – trade, technology and security. That is why I am pleased that today Prime Minister Modi and I have agreed to establish an EU-India Trade and Technology Council. The EU has only one TTC so far – with the US, and I think it is telling that we now establish the second one with India. Also because India is technologically a powerhouse, and in the trade sector we need to unleash an enormous amount of untapped potential,” she said.

She said that she is glad that negotiations towards comprehensive trade and investment agreements have started.

“And yesterday, on another important topic that we share – climate change… I spent an exciting day at the International Solar Alliance. Energy security is one of the most pressing topics for India as well as Europe. The EU will diversify away from fossil fuels and will invest heavily in clean renewable energy. Therefore, cooperation with India not only on solar but also on green hydrogen is critical,” she said.

Von Der Leyen had also met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

She arrived in India for a two-day official visit on Sunday to strengthen the India-EU strategic partnership. This was her first visit to India as the President of the European Commission.

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