Home / News / India /  Leaders' meet: PM Modi asks EU to support India, South Africa on patent waiver for Covid vaccines

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday invited European Union to support the proposal by India and South Africa to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines, said MEA on India-EU leaders' summit.

India and the EU also revived stalled free trade negotiations, while also seeking closer cooperation to combat climate change, as concerns about China bring Brussels and New Delhi closer.

"In his initial remarks, Prime Minister talked about rationale of stronger relationship of India not just with EU but with all EU member states and described India-EU strategic partnership as force multiplier for global goods in 21st century," said Vikas Swarup, MEA Secreary (West).

"We've just concluded historic and successful India-EU Leaders' meeting. It was an unprecedented occasion where PM of India was a special invitee. The EU+27 format has only been done with US before, most recently with President Biden in March 2021," Swarup added.

The MEA official also added that PM has invited EU member states to participate in India-EU High-Level Digital Forum that's likely to be held later this year, to enhance digital cooperation between India and EU via linking of start-ups supporting digital economy and for enhancing investments.

India and the European Union have agreed to resume talks for a balanced, ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement and also launch negotiations for a stand-alone investment protection pact, the External Affairs Ministry said on Saturday.

These decisions were taken during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the heads of state or government of all the 27-member states of the bloc with a focus on expanding overall cooperation in areas of trade, investment and connectivity.

The two sides also launched a sustainable and comprehensive connectivity partnership, the ministry said and described the summit as a "watershed" moment in the ties.

The leaders also exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare cooperation.

The India-EU leaders' meeting is hosted by Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa. Portugal currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

"We are opening a new chapter in #EUIndia strategic partnership at the meeting of EU Leaders with PM @narendramodi," tweeted Charles Michel, President of the European Council.

Modi was scheduled to visit Portugal for the leaders' meeting but it was called off in view of the coronavirus crisis and both sides decided to hold the deliberations virtually.

A strategically important grouping, the EU as a whole was India's largest trading partner in 2018. India's bilateral trade with the EU in 2018-19 stood at 1$15.6 billion with exports valued at $57.17 billion and imports worth $58.42 billion.

In the 15th India-EU summit in July last year, Prime Minister Modi had pitched for bringing out an "action-oriented" agenda to further expand ties between the two sides.

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