PM may visit Brussels in March for India-EU summit

Shubhajit Roy
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During the 2017 India-EU summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led the Indian delegation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Brussels in March for the next India-European Union summit. While the dates have not been officially announced, the proposed date is likely to be March 13.

The last India-EU summit took place in October 2017 in Delhi and both sides have had ambitious plans. But the Indian assessment that the relationship has not achieved its potential was articulated by External Affairs minister S Jaishankar during his remarks at the Raisina Dialogue earlier this week.

This proposed summit was one of the key takeaways of the bilateral meeting between Jaishankar and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell on Friday.

In his meeting with Borrell, Jaishankar discussed global and regional issues, multilateralism, connectivity, and counter-terrorism.

“A great meeting with HRVP @JosepBorrellF of European Union. Productive discussions on global and regional issues, multilateralism, connectivity and counter terrorism. Underlined our climate change cooperation. Agreed to keep in close touch,” Jaishankar said in a tweet. The MEA said in a statement that Jaishankar and Borrell took stock of the India-EU relations and the way forward ahead of the planned summit in March 2020 and discussed the possible deliverables.

“Both agreed to further enlarge the existing bilateral political, security, economic and trade cooperation and identify new areas for cooperation in connectivity, Indo-Pacific Region, data adequacy etc,” the MEA said.

The March summit will take place against the backdrop of the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the government’s move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. In October, a group of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) — many of them from far-right parties in Europe — were taken to Kashmir.

The EU had said that it was not an official delegation, and these MEPs were visiting in their private capacity.

Earlier this month, when a group of 15 ambassadors went to Kashmir at the government’s invitation. The European Union envoys could not join them, as envoys from 27 EU countries wanted to go together. The envoys who were invited could not make it since it was too short a notice for them to get approvals from their Foreign ministries.

During the 2017 India-EU summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led the Indian delegation and European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker led the EU side.

The leaders had held wide-ranging discussions on foreign and security policy, migration, trade, climate, research and innovation. A Joint Statement was adopted by the leaders which reflected common understanding on these areas and reaffirmed commitment to strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership.

The two sides are likely to prepare for the summit and pick up the threads from where they left.