India, EU launch Trade and Technology Council to deepen strategic cooperation
New Delhi, Apr 25: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday agreed to launch an EU-India trade and technology council to address the challenges of ensuring trusted technology and security in the wake of rapid geopolitical changes.
The decision was taken during talks between PM Modi and von der Leyen.
This is the first time that India has agreed to set up such a trade and technology council with any of its partners. For the EU, it is only the second such body, following the first one set up with the US.
The European Union said the strategic coordination mechanism will allow both partners to tackle challenges "at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security, and thus deepen cooperation in these fields."
It said both sides agreed that rapid changes in the geopolitical environment highlight the need for joint in-depth strategic engagement.
"The Trade and Technology Council will provide the political steer and the necessary structure to operationalise political decisions, coordinate technical work, and report to the political level to ensure implementation and follow-up in areas that are important for the sustainable progress of European and Indian economies," the EU said in a statement.
The EU said shared values and common interests of the EU and India offer a strong basis to intensify mutually beneficial and deeper strategic cooperation.
"The European Union and India are bound by decades of close partnership and are determined to increase joint efforts to tackle current challenges and address geopolitical circumstances," it said. "The decision to set up a Trade and Technology Council will be the first for India with any of its partners and second for the European Union following the first one it has set up with the US," the EU said.
It said establishing the EU-India council is a key step toward a strengthened strategic partnership for the benefit of all peoples in the EU and India. The European Commission President began a two-day visit to India on Sunday in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
At an event on Sunday, von der Leyen said Russia's war in Ukraine was a stark reminder that the dependency on Russian fossil fuels is not sustainable, and pitched for deeper cooperation between India and the EU to expand the use of clean energy.
In her address at the International Solar Alliance (ISA), she also talked about the need for sustainable ways of doing business using clean energy and also emphasised the need for switching to "home-grown clean energies" in the wake of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on von der Leyen before her talks with Modi. "Pleased to call on President of @EU_Commission @vonderleyen. Discussed taking forward the #IndiaEU partnership. Also exchanged views on the economic and political implications of the Ukraine conflict," Jaishankar tweeted.