Amid Covid-19 fears, India and EU postpone bilateral meet1 min read . Updated: 05 Mar 2020, 04:25 PM IST
- The summit has been postponed to a ‘mutually convenient date’, says Indian foreign ministry
- The India-EU summit was postponed after health authorities on both sides advised against travelling
NEW DELHI : India and the European Union (EU) have postponed the annual bilateral summit, which was scheduled for next week due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Indian foreign ministry said.
The summit has been postponed to a “mutually convenient date", Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday. The summit was to be held on 13 March in Brussels, but news reports on Wednesday said that an EU employee had been tested positive for Covid-19.
“In view of precautionary measures related to the global spread of Covid-19, the EU and India have jointly decided to postpone the EU-India summit foreseen initially for 13 March in Brussels," an EU official said in Brussels on Thursday. “The two sides will now look to agree on a new date through mutual consultations. In the meantime, we will continue work on our joint agenda to make progress across all aspects of our relations."
The India-EU summit was postponed after health authorities on both sides advised against travelling, Kumar said, adding that “the decision has been taken in the spirit of the close cooperation between India and the EU, which share the same concerns and commitment to global health, and hope that the outbreak is contained soon."
Covid-19 has claimed 3,200 lives globally since December.
Kumar, however, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present at the birth centenary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman—Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s father—in Dhaka on 17 March.
Commenting on the Delhi riots, Kumar said: “At this sensitive time, we would urge people not to make any irresponsible statements." He also urged the international community to ignore “selective" and “unsubstantiated narratives" on the clashes. Responding to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments describing the riots as a “massacre", Kumar said India had called in the Turkish ambassador to New Delhi and expressed its strong displeasure.