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The forthcoming India-EU Leaders’ Meeting will reflect the shared ambition of both sides to further cement the India-EU Strategic Partnership, India and EU leaders said on Monday.

This was conveyed during a telephone call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

“The India-EU Leaders’ Meeting will be the first meeting in the EU+27 format and reflects the shared ambition of both sides for further strengthening the India-EU Strategic Partnership," an Indian statement said on Monday after the call. The reference was to the India-EU Leaders’ Summit on 8 May. This is being held in the virtual format after Modi called off a visit to Portugal after a brutal second wave of covid-19 cases gripped India.

“The leaders agreed that the forthcoming India-EU Leaders’ Meeting on 8 May 2021 in virtual format was an important opportunity to provide renewed momentum to the already multi-faceted India-EU relationship," the statement said.

The two leaders also spoke on the prevailing covid-19 situation in India and the EU, the statement said adding that India’s ongoing efforts to contain the second wave of covid-19 also came up.

“Prime Minister Modi expressed his appreciation of the EU and its Member States for mobilizing quick support for India’s fight against the second wave of covid-19," it said.

EU member states including France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and Romania had rushed assistance to India including oxygen generators, oxygen concentrators and drugs like remdesivir.

India’s daily covid-19 case tally on Sunday was a little more than 368,000 with the numbers of daily deaths clocking 3,417, according to government numbers put out early on Monday. Overall number of cases in India was almost 20 million.

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