PM Modi reminds EU of common values, seeks deeper ties as the China factor looms

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that India and the European Union were natural partners with shared values and common goals as evidenced in the cooperation demonstrated by the two sides in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. He also invited European investments for the further development of environment friendly technologies in India.

The prime minister also underlined India’s demonstration of its policy of global cooperation through supply of emergency medicine to around 150 countries across the world, with an aim to strengthen efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

“India has taken care of the interests of other countries apart from its own citizens by sending medicines to almost 150 countries and has also initiated a joint response to the pandemic in the region,” PM said, while addressing the delegates at the 15th India-EU virtual summit.

He added that Indian researchers and pharmaceutical companies were ready to make even greater contribution to global efforts to contain the pandemic.

Earlier in his address, the prime minister said that India’s partnership with the EU can play an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the world.

“India and EU are natural partners. Our partnership is significant for peace and stability of the world. This reality has become even clearer in the global situation today,” he said.

The India-EU summit comes amid a protracted border conflict with China that was followed by the Indian government’s decision to cancel a few contracts awarded to Chinese companies and to ban several popular Chinese mobile applications like TikTok.

Yesterday, Britain decided to oust Chinese company Huwaei from its 5G project in line with the stand taken by the United States against the company. The US had recently warned Europe against cozying up to China and ignoring Beijing’s perceived expansionist tendencies including use of bullying of its trade partners as a tactic to advance its territorial ambition.

Modi said India’s relationship with the EU needed to be deeper, wider and more strategic given the overlapping of values and goals.

“For this, we need to adopt a long-term strategic perspective. We also need an action-oriented agenda, which can be implemented in a set time frame,” the PM said underlining the shared values of democracy, pluralism, inclusivity, respect for international institutions, multilateralism, freedom and transparency, which, he said, made the scaling up of ties to the next level a natural process.

“Apart from current challenges, long-term challenges like climate change are also a priority for India and the EU. In our efforts to increase the use of renewable energy in India, we invite investment and technology from Europe,” the PM said at the summit.

At the outset, the European Council President Charles Michel thanked India for the “cooperation” shown with the EU, especially in fighting the pandemic.

“I would like to thank India for the cooperation your country has shown with the EU. I would like to pay tribute to your role nationally and internationally, multilaterally in combating Covid 19 pandemic,” Michel said.

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