India-EU Relations.

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BREAKING:

Charles Michel :

The Europe of Defense is formally created today. The actions to be carried out have been entrusted to the commission. The DTIB will be identified. Setting up of an agenda to identify the actions.

 

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Chair of EU Parliament's trade panel hopes for early FTA with India​

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Asked about European dependency on Russian energy, he explained," want to be independent of fossil fuel supply from Russia in a reasonable time frame". Without taking China's name he said," Now we are faced with the situation globally that lot of countries are using trade as a weapon."

This is the first such major visit of the European Parliament delegation to India since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24th February

The Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade Bernd Lange, who was on a visit to Delhi had hoped for the early conclusion of a free trade agreement between India and the EU. Speaking to WION's Principal Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Member of the European Parliament Lange said, "you in India have elections in 2024, we have European election in 2024 so it will be great to have an agreement before that election campaign will start. So mid or end next year, as I said political will there".

This is the first such major visit of the European Parliament delegation to India since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24th February. A 7-member delegation of the European parliament's international trade committee, led by MEP Lange was in Delhi during which they met Finance Minister Sitharaman, Trade minister Goyal, NITI Aayog chief Rajiv Kumar and top ministry of external affairs officials including Secretary (West) Sanjay Verma, Sandeep Chakraborty, Joint Secretary (Europe West) and Secretary (Economic Relations) Dammu Ravi.

Asked about European dependency on Russian energy, he explained," want to be independent of fossil fuel supply from Russia in a reasonable time frame". Without taking China's name he said," Now we are faced with the situation globally that lot of countries are using trade as a weapon."

WION: What brings you here to Delhi?

Bernd Lange: The international trade committee in the European Parliament is an important committee on scrutiny of any negotiation on the trade agreement and at the end of the day we have to say yes or no, or change a trade agreement. It is wise to have a fact-finding mission at the beginning of trade negotiations.


WION: What was your key focus during the various meetings?


Bernd Lange: The situation now is different than we had, in our last attempt to have a trade agreement 10 years ago. Now we are faced with the situation globally that lot of countries are using trade as a weapon. We are faced with a situation in which a lot of countries are using trade in a management way, some protective measures, specifically regarding pandemics. So, I guess it's time to rethink the relations between India and the EU as the 2 biggest democratic entities worldwide and this is also one result of my meetings here in Delhi. There is an open mind to restart negotiation in a different way between India and the EU.

WION: How hopeful you are about negotiations on India-EU FTA?


Bernd Lange: We have no red lines in our minds. If it's clear, negotiations will be given and taken. We have to find compromises on the question of services in Europe or questions on tariffs for European cars coming to India. A lot of items where we have to negotiate, if there is a will on both sides, then it can happen very fast. You in India have elections in 2024, we have a European election in 2024 so it will be great to have an agreement before the election campaigns start. So mid or end next year, as I said political will there, might be realistic.


WION: So you hopeful, that by mid of next year, FTA can be concluded?


Bernd Lange: Can be concluded, depends on negotiation rounds, willing to find a compromise, of course, we are not starting with zero. There are experiences with other trade agreements, India concluded just with Australia, we are negotiating with Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. So, there are some standards, it's a question of which kind of speed we will take.


WION: The Russian invasion of Ukraine, did you discuss with the Indian side here and what exactly you told them?


Bernd Lange: The European position is very clear, the Russian aggression, invasion of Ukraine is an illegal movement. After Russian troops raped, it is all clear that Russian soldiers were part of war crimes against civilians in Ukraine therefore we want to stop the war immediately, we are using sanctions against Russia to push them for stopping the war. Worldwide we have different views on this, our position is quite clear and evident, this is an unacceptable move from the Russian leader and we expect democratic thinking people in a coalition against this war. Nevertheless, I can understand different views of course, I can understand a lot of wars are also happening on the social media.


WION: Do you think trade with Russia will be difficult, not only for a European investor but also for investors anywhere in the world, including India?


Bernd Lange: The Russian aggression against Ukraine will indeed have consequences for the world trade organizations. Just a few hours ago the WTO published a study that they expect the world trade will decrease, maybe up to 50 per cent because of this war. We may also see a change in investment. Lots of change we have to face.


WION: Energy linkages between Europe to Russia continue, how does Europe plan to decrease it?


Bernd Lange: I guess regardless of this war, there was a clear perspective from the EU to be independent of fossil fuels. We want to transform into a climate-neutral industrial society in 2050, so there were a lot of attempts to change the energy supply already and we have sped up the process for that. We will be independent of fossil fuel supplies specifically from Russia in a reasonable time frame, and I guess, a lot of possibility of cooperation. I know, the perspective of renewable energy in India and it will produce green hydrogen. We have a demand for green hydrogen. Prospective of creating, really the possibility of establishing a different kind of renewable and also have new trade relations based on green energy is a prospective for Bilateral Relations and also globally. This war, this transformation will change the global energy supply totally.
 

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What Might The India-European Union Trade & Tech Council Look Like? US-EU Version May Offer Preview​

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed on Monday to launch the EU-India Trade and Technology Council, a strategic coordination mechanism expected to provide political push and the essential structure to tackle challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology, and security.

It will be the second trade and technology council involving the 27-nation European Union (EU) after its first with the United States.

A look at the structure and goals of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) may provide insight into what the mechanism involving India may look like.

The TTC is led by three American and two European government officials. The US side is co-chaired by Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative (USTR); Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce; and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State. The EU side is led by Valdis Dombrovkis, European Commission Executive Vice President and EU Commissioner for Trade; and by Margarethe Vestager, European Commission Executive Vice President and Commissioner for Competition.

The council consists of 10 thematic working groups, chaired by relevant US agencies and European Commission services. Here are the details of their mandate as shared in the joint statement at the time of the launch:

Working Group 1 – Technology Standards: The Technology Standards working group is tasked to develop approaches for coordination and cooperation in critical and emerging technology standards including AI and other emerging technologies. The United States and European Union support the development of technical standards in line with our core values, and recognize the importance of international standardisation activities underpinned by core WTO principles. The United States and European Union aim to identify opportunities for collaborative proactive action and to defend our common interests in international standards activities for critical and emerging technologies. As such, we plan to develop both formal and informal cooperation mechanisms to share information regarding technical proposals in specified technology areas and seek opportunities to coordinate on international standards activities. We look forward to fostering participation in standards organizations for civil society organizations, startups, small and medium sized enterprises in emerging technologies.

Working Group 2 – Climate and Clean Tech: Given the great importance of technology to address environmental challenges and connected market opportunities, the Climate and Clean Tech working group is tasked to identify opportunities, measures and incentives to support technology development, transatlantic trade and investment in climate neutral technologies, products and services, including collaboration in third countries, research and innovation, and to jointly explore the methodologies, tools, and technologies for calculating embedded greenhouse gas emissions in global trade.

Working Group 3 – Secure Supply Chains: Alongside the dedicated track on semiconductors, the Secure Supply Chains working group is tasked to focus on advancing respective supply chain resilience and security of supply in key sectors for the green and digital transition and for securing the protection of our citizens. A first focus will be on clean energy, pharmaceuticals, and critical materials. In connection with these sectors, the working group is tasked to seek to: increase transparency of supply and demand; map respective existing sectoral capabilities; exchange information on policy measures and research and development priorities; and cooperate on strategies to promote supply chain resilience and diversification. The dedicated track on semiconductor issues will initially focus on short-term supply chain issues. Cooperation on mid- and long-term strategic semiconductor issues will begin in the relevant TTC working groups ahead of the next TTC Meeting.

Working Group 4 – Information and Communication Technology and Services (ICTS) Security and Competitiveness: The Information and Communications Technology and Services working group is tasked to continue to work towards ensuring security, diversity, interoperability and resilience across the ICT supply chain, including sensitive and critical areas such as 5G, undersea cables, data centers, and cloud infrastructure. The working group is tasked to explore concrete cooperation on development finance for secure and resilient digital connectivity in third countries. The working group is tasked to seek to reinforce cooperation on research and innovation for beyond 5G and 6G systems. The United States and the European Union, in close cooperation with relevant
stakeholders, could develop a common vision and roadmap for preparing the next generation of communication technologies towards 6G. The group is also tasked to discuss data security.

Working Group 5 – Data Governance and Technology Platforms: The Data Governance and Technology Platforms working group is tasked to exchange information on our respective approaches to data governance and technology platform governance, seeking consistency and interoperability where feasible. We intend to exchange information and views regarding current and future regulations in both the United States and European Union with a goal of effectively addressing shared concerns, while respecting the full regulatory autonomy of the United States and European Union. We have identified common issues of concern around: illegal and harmful content and their algorithmic amplification, transparency, and access to platforms’ data for researchers as well as the democratic responsibility of online intermediaries. We have also identified a shared interest in using voluntary and multi-stakeholder initiatives to complement regulatory approaches in some areas. We are committed to transatlantic cooperation regarding platform policies that focus on disinformation, product safety, counterfeit products, and other harmful content. We plan to engage with platform companies to improve researchers’ access to data generated by platforms, in order to better understand and be able better to address systemic risks linked to how content spreads online. We also plan to engage in a discussion on effective
measures to appropriately address the power of online platforms and ensure effective competition and contestable markets. The working group is also tasked to discuss, alongside other working groups, common approaches on the role of cloud infrastructure and services.

Working Group 6 – Misuse of Technology Threatening Security and Human Rights: The Misuse of Technology to Threaten Security and Human Rights working group is tasked to combat arbitrary or unlawful surveillance, including on social media platforms; explore building an effective mechanism to respond to Internet shutdowns, in conjunction with the G7 and others likeminded countries; work to protect human rights defenders online; and increase transatlantic cooperation to
address foreign information manipulation, including disinformation, and interference with democratic processes, while upholding freedom of expression and privacy rights. The working group is tasked to address social scoring systems and to collaborate on projects furthering the development of trustworthy AI.

Working Group 7 – Export Controls: The Export Controls working group is tasked to engage in technical consultations on legislative and regulatory developments and exchange information on risk assessments and licensing good practices, as well as on compliance and enforcement approaches, promote convergent control approaches on sensitive dual-use technologies, and perform joint industry outreach on dual-use export controls.

Working Group 8 – Investment Screening: The Investment Screening working group is tasked to focus on exchanging information on investment trends impacting security, including strategic trends with respect to industries concerned, origin of investments, and types of transactions; on best practices, including with respect to risk analysis and the systems for risk mitigation measures with a focus on sensitive technologies and related sensitive data, which may include personal data; and together with other groups, including Export Controls, develop a holistic view of the policy tools addressing risks related to specific sensitive technologies. The working group is expected to conduct a joint virtual outreach event for stakeholders.

Working Group 9 – Promoting Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Access to and Use of Digital Tools: The use of digital tools is a key enabler for SMEs to innovate, grow and compete. Its uptake varies significantly across sectors and regions. Beyond training and education gaps and market access barriers, SMEs face challenges regarding access to technologies, data, and finance. We are committed to ensuring access to digital tools and technologies for SMEs in both the United States and European Union. Working Group 9 is tasked to launch outreach activities that will offer opportunities for SMEs and underserved communities, and their representatives, to share their needs, experience, strategies and best practices with policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic with a view to ensuring a better understanding of the barriers to their digital empowerment.
Additionally, through a series of listening sessions with SMEs and underserved communities, as well as the resulting analysis and reporting, the working group is tasked to develop recommendations for U.S. and EU policymakers to implement that will help to accelerate access to and the uptake of digital technologies.

Working Group 10 – Global Trade Challenges: Consistent with the attached statement on global trade challenges, Working Group 10 is tasked to focus on challenges from non-market economic policies and practices, avoiding new and unnecessary technical barriers in products and services of emerging technology, promoting and protecting labor rights and decent work, and, following further consultations, trade and environment issues.

The TTC serves as a forum for the EU and the US to coordinate approaches to key global trade, economic and technology issues, and to deepen transatlantic trade and economic relations based on shared democratic values, the two sides say. This in many ways mirrors the objectives of the India-EU council. It remains to be seen how closely the structure and mandate of the new mechanism will resemble those of the existing model.

EU-India: Joint press release on launching the Trade and Technology Council​

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, agreed to launch the EU-India Trade and Technology Council at their meeting in New Delhi on Monday. This strategic coordination mechanism will allow both partners to tackle challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security, and thus deepen cooperation in these fields between the EU and India.

Both sides agreed that rapid changes in the geopolitical environment highlight the need for joint in-depth strategic engagement. The Trade and Technology Council will provide the political steer and the necessary structure to operationalise political decisions, coordinate technical work, and report to the political level to ensure implementation and follow-up in areas that are important for the sustainable progress of European and Indian economies.

Even as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, we are confident that the shared values and common interests of the EU and India offer a strong basis to intensify mutually beneficial and deeper strategic cooperation. The European Union and India are bound by decades of close partnership and are determined to increase joint efforts to tackle current challenges and address geopolitical circumstances. The decision to set up a Trade and Technology Council will be the first for India with any of its partners and second for the European Union following the first one it has set up with the US. Establishing the EU-India Trade and Technology Council is a key step towards a strengthened strategic partnership for the benefit of all peoples in the EU and India.

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Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi holds talk with President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen in New Delhi​

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi received Her Excellency Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, today.


Prime Minister thanked the EC President for consenting to deliver the inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue this year, and said that he looked foward to hearing her address later in the day.


The leaders agreed that as large and vibrant democratic societies, India and Europe share similar values and a commonality of perspectives on many global issues.


They reviewed the progress in the India-EU Strategic Partnership, including the forthcoming re-commencement of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement and Investment Agreement. It was agreed to institute a high-level Trade & Technology Commission to provide political-level oversight of all aspects of the India-EU relationship, and to ensure coordination between different areas of cooperation.


The leaders had an extensive discussion on climate related issues, including on possibilities of collaboration between India and the EU in areas like Green Hydrogen. They also discussed the continuing challenges of COVID-19 and stressed efforts to ensure equitable access to vaccines and therapeutics to all parts of the world.


In addition, several geo-political issues of topical importance were discussed during the meeting, including the situation in Ukraine and developments in the Indo-Pacific region.
 

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President von der Leyen in India: Advancing a Strategic Partnership​

The European Union and India will strengthen their partnership and deepen bilateral cooperation with a focus on upholding the rules-based global order, supporting economic recovery, fighting climate change and charting the digital transition. This was confirmed during the visit by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to New Delhi on Sunday and Monday, where she met the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, and held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

President von der Leyen and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to establish a joint Trade and Technology Council to tackle key trade, economic and technology challenges, and advance cooperation in these areas.

They also agreed to resume negotiations for an EU-India Free Trade Agreement and to start talks on an Investment Protection Agreement as well as on an Agreement on Geographical Indications. The first round of negotiations will take place in June.

Today, we are taking steps to deepen our strategic ties with India – on trade, trusted-technology and security, notably in respect of challenges posed by rival governance models. This will help us diversify and secure our supply chains, boost economic opportunities for our businesses, and bring significant benefits to our citizens”, President von der Leyen said, noting that the common objective is to conclude all three agreements swiftly.
India is a key strategic partner for the European Union. The EU is India's third largest trading partner and second largest export destination. It is also one of the largest investors in India, but as President von der Leyen pointed out, there remains a lot of untapped potential.

The EU's Global Gateway strategy opens new opportunities for cooperation and investments in secure and sustainable infrastructure in India and in the region.

Given their size, economic performance and energy needs, India and the European Union are key in the transition to a more sustainable and green future. President von der Leyen proposed stepping up cooperation to reach ambitious decarbonisation targets, with more intense joint efforts on solar energy and further the cooperation on green hydrogen in particular.

President von der Leyen visited the headquarters of International Solar Alliance, one of India's flagship initiatives to fight the climate change, and met with CEOs from Indian and European energy companies.

She said: “We are closely aligned with India in the fight against climate change. The solar energy will play a decisive role to reach our objectives on the way to net zero, both in India and in Europe. Investment here also becomes an investment in our security. Every kilowatt we generate from solar, wind, hydropower or biomass, reduces our dependency on fossil fuels from abroad.”

The President also visited the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), where she met young students and climate activists and visited the TERI-Deakin Nano-Biotechnology Centre, and she met Indian women leaders and entrepreneurs.

Geopolitical conference Raisina Dialogue
President von der Leyen delivered the opening speech at this year's edition of the geopolitical conference Raisina Dialogue, where she addressed current developments, from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, clean energy and digital transitions, China and in particular the Russian aggression against Ukraine and its global impact.

She said: “The outcome of Putin's war will not only determine the future of Europe but also deeply affect the Indo-Pacific region and the rest of the world. For the Indo-Pacific it is as important as for Europe that borders are respected. And that spheres of influence are rejected. We want a positive vision for a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

For More Information
Opening speech by President von der Leyen at the Raisina Dialogue
EU-India: Joint press release on launching the Trade and Technology Council
Statement by President von der Leyen with Indian Prime Minister Modi
Statement on the talks between Björn Seibert, Head of Cabinet of President von der Leyen, and members of the Indian government
Introduction remarks by President von der Leyen at The Energy and Resources Institute
Speech by President von der Leyen at the International Solar Alliance
Factsheet: EU-India Relations
Factsheet: EU-India Connectivity Partnership

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Speech by President von der Leyen at the Raisina Dialogue​

Prime Minister Modi,
Excellencies,
Ambassadors,
Distinguished Guests,

Every five years, when Indians are casting their vote in Parliamentary elections, the world watches with admiration as the world's largest democracy charts its future path. Because the outcome of decisions made by 1.3 billion people resonates around the globe. This is especially true for Europe. As vibrant democracies, India and the European Union share fundamental values and common interests. Together, we believe in each country's right to determine its own destiny. Together, we believe in the rule of law and fundamental rights. And together, we believe that it is democracy that best delivers for citizens. So despite our geographic distance and despite the different languages we speak – when we look at each other, we do not meet as strangers but as close friends. Democracy was born more than 2,000 years ago in Europe. But today, its largest home is India.

For the European Union, strengthening and energising its partnership with India is a priority in this upcoming decade. Both our economies thrive in a world of common rules and fair competition. We share the same interests in safe trading routes, in seamless supply chains, and in a free and open Indo-Pacific. Both our regions are driving forces in the digital revolution. This makes us natural partners in setting global standards, to make sure that the rules of the analogue world also count in the digital domain. And of course, both India and the European Union are key in the transition to a more sustainable and green future for our planet. So we must pool our strength in the fight against climate change. It is so urgent. This is our common responsibility not only towards the global community but mostly towards the next generation.

However, our values are not shared by everyone. We all see the rising challenges to our open and free societies. This is true for the technological and the economic domain – but it is also true for security. The reality is that the core principles that underpin peace and security across the world are at stake. In Asia as well as in Europe. The images coming from Russia's attack on Ukraine have shocked and are shocking the whole world. Two weeks ago, I visited Bucha, the suburb of Kyiv, which was devastated by Russian troops as they withdrew from the north of Ukraine. I saw with my own eyes the bodies lined up on the ground. I saw the mass graves. I listened to survivors of atrocious crimes that the Kremlin's soldiers committed. I saw the scars of bombed schools, resident houses and hospitals. These are severe violations of international law. Targeting and killing innocent civilians. Redrawing borders by force. Subjugating the will of a free people. This goes against core principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

In Europe, we see Russia's aggression as a direct threat to our security. We will make sure that the unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine will be a strategic failure. This is why we are doing all we can to help Ukraine fight for its freedom. This is why we immediately imposed massive, sharp and effective sanctions. Sanctions are never a standalone solution. They are embedded in a broader strategy that has diplomatic and security elements. And this is why we have designed the sanctions in a way to sustain them over a longer period of time. Because this gives us leverage to achieve a diplomatic solution that will bring lasting peace. And we urge all members of the international community to support our efforts for lasting peace. And if we consider what it means, for Europe and Asia, that Russia and China have forged a seemingly unrestrained pact. They have declared that the friendship between them has ‘no limits'; that there are ‘no forbidden areas of cooperation'; this was in February this year. And then, the invasion of Ukraine followed. What can we expect from the ‘new international relations' that both have called for?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is a defining moment. Our decisions in these days will shape decades to come. Our response to Russia's aggression today will decide the future of both the international system and the global economy. Will heinous devastation win or humanity prevail? Will the right of might dominate or the rule of law? Will there be constant conflict and struggle or a future of common prosperity and lasting peace? What happens in Ukraine will have an impact on the Indo-Pacific region. It already has. Countries battered by two years of COVID-19 pandemic must deal now with rising prices for grain, energy and fertilisers as a direct result of Putin's war of choice. Thus, the outcome of the war will not only determine the future of Europe but also deeply affect the Indo-Pacific region and the rest of the world. For the Indo-Pacific region, it is as important as for Europe that borders are respected and that spheres of influence are rejected. We want a positive vision for a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. The region is home to half of the world's population and 60% of the global GDP. Our vision is that the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open, and becomes more interconnected, prosperous, secure and resilient – with an open and rules-based security architecture that serves all interests. To this end, we will deepen our engagement with our partners in the region, including ASEAN.

On China, we will continue to encourage Beijing to play its part in a peaceful and thriving Indo-Pacific region. The relationship between the European Union and China is simultaneously strategically important and challenging. All at once, China is a negotiating partner, an economic competitor and a systemic rival. We will continue our multifaceted engagement, we will continue to cooperate on tackling common challenges, and we will protect our essential interests and promote our values.

On this foundation of engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, we seek to build a new common agenda for the 21st century. One major item on this agenda is the need around the world for massive investment to overcome the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and to modernise the economies. And as a consequence, some countries have been forced to take unsustainable offers. They face a situation where they do not fully control their own infrastructure, be it seaports or airports, be it bridges or railways. But investments in our future should never come at the expense of a country's independence. Throughout the 2020s, developing Asian countries will need to invest more than 5% of their gross domestic product to meet the infrastructure needs of their own fast-growing economies. This means globally over USD 1.7 trillion per year. The needs are massive, but so are the opportunities. This is why we have introduced Global Gateway. Global Gateway is Europe's vision for investment in clean and sustainable global infrastructure. Global Gateway will enable up to EUR 300 billion to support major infrastructure priorities around the world. From clean energy to digitalisation, you name it, our offer will be transparent and values-driven. With Europe, what you see is what you get.

Let me focus specifically on two points: First, on climate action. And here, let me take energy. Energy demand in India, for example, has doubled since 2000. And this is good news, because it means better living conditions for millions of people. Over the next 20 years, India will need an additional energy capacity that is equal to the entire European energy consumption, additional. So the question is: Will this energy be clean? Or will it poison our air that we breathe? Will the energy be renewable and home-grown? Or will it increase our dependency and allow for blackmail in the future? I was very glad, Prime Minister, to hear that you declared that India will be energy-independent before it celebrates the 100th birthday of the country's independence, in 2047. The choices made today are crucial – not just for this great nation, but for the whole world.

Global Gateway could bring, for example, to India and Bangladesh more hydropower produced in Nepal and Bhutan. It could build clean hydrogen infrastructure to power up your heavy industries. Just yesterday, I visited the headquarters of the International Solar Alliance. This is a great partnership launched by Prime Minister Modi, and now bringing together 86 countries. So it is innovation at the service of people. Because the International Solar Alliance will benefit most the least developed countries and the small island developing states. Given the geopolitical and climate challenges we face, the business case today for solar is stronger than ever. So we should massively scale it up – also through Global Gateway – for the benefit of our common prosperity and the planet we all share. We also can help the climate when saving energy. I know, this sounds obvious. But in a country the size of India, the sum of many small individual decisions can have a tremendous overall impact in the end.

Just think of this example: As prices dropped dramatically in recent years, millions of Indians switched from using traditional old light bulbs to modern LED lighting technology. This resulted in annual energy savings of 30 terawatt-hours. This is roughly enough to power 28 million average Indian households for a year, just by saving, or for the whole of Denmark, just through saving energy. There is really big time potential in energy sufficiency and energy savings.

We also need to strengthen our cooperation in the digital field. This is my second point. Because cutting-edge technology is at the heart of our future cooperation. And Asia is a powerhouse when it comes to new technologies, from artificial intelligence to quantum computing. Our cooperation is about more than investment and infrastructure, it is about talent and technology based on fundamental values. On standards, for example. Today, India and the European Union both recognise that we are better off when we develop global standards for new technologies such as 5G, instead of seeking separate national solutions. And we share many of the same values when it comes to the digital world. We share the idea that privacy should be guaranteed online as well as offline, and that technology should enhance individual freedom, not the state's ability to control us. Think about data protection. European companies outsource many of their IT processes to Indian companies. Europe generates almost one-third of the revenues for the Indian Business Process Outsourcing sector. With equivalent rules, we could unlock even greater data flows between our regions, with immense benefits for the companies in our respective regions.

As I said earlier, for the European Union, the partnership with this region is one of our most important relationships for the coming decade, and strengthening this partnership is a priority for the European Union. Our strategic cooperation should take place at the nexus of trade, trusted technology, and security, notably in respect of challenges posed by rival governance models. And therefore, I am very pleased that today, Prime Minister Modi and I have agreed to establish an EU-India Trade and Technology Council to tackle key trade, economic and technological challenges. As like-minded partners, the European Union and India will be working on several tracks. We have launched negotiations on a free trade agreement, as well as on investment protection and geographical indications. For Europe, this is a strategic investment in our partnership with India. The European Union is India's third most important trade partner. But we can do so much more. Our trade is far below our potential, both for Indian and European goods and services. So this deal will bring new technologies, new investment and unprecedented integration into shared value chains. We are the two largest democracies in the world, and together we have a lot to give for the benefit of the people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are living, indeed, in a Terra Nova, as the title of this year's Raisina Dialogue suggests. We all have to choose whether we want a Terra Nova to be a wild, dangerous and an unliveable place or a better home for all humankind. I am convinced that democracies will have a crucial role to play in defining the world of tomorrow. I want Europe to be a partner for Asia in shaping this new world. A world of independent yet interconnected countries. Working together for a more prosperous and peaceful world. Working together for the benefit of humankind.
Thank you very much for your attention.

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Statement by President von der Leyen with Indian Prime Minister Modi​

I am very happy visit India and to see you again, Prime Minister. It is the 60th anniversary of relations between the EU and India. Today, our relationship is more important than ever. We have so much in common. We are vibrant democracies, we both support wholeheartedly the rules-based international order and we have both large economies, and we are both facing a challenging global landscape. For the European Union, the partnership with India is one of our most important relationships for the coming decade and strengthening this partnership is a priority.

And here, I am thinking of three main topics – trade, technology and security. That is why I am pleased that today Prime Minister Modi and I have agreed to establish an EU-India Trade and Technology Council. The EU has only one TTC so far – with the US, and I think it is telling that we now establish the second one with India. Also because India is technologically a powerhouse, and in the trade sector we need to unleash an enormous amount of untapped potential.

I am also glad that we are starting negotiations towards comprehensive trade and investment agreements. And yesterday, on another important topic that we share – climate change – I spent an exciting day at the International Solar Alliance. Energy security is one of the most pressing topics for India as well as Europe. The EU will diversify away from fossil fuels and will invest heavily in clean renewable energy. Therefore, cooperation with India not only on solar but also on green hydrogen is critical.

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Speech by President von der Leyen at the International Solar Alliance​

 

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Germany commits 10 billion euros for green projects in India by 2030​

Germany on Monday committed to provide additional support worth euro 10 billion to India by 2030 to support green growth initiatives. The commitment came during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country — his first trip abroad this year.

India and Germany also agreed to work together on joint projects in third countries in an apparent signal to counter China’s debt-driven infra financing model. PM Modi held bilateral talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and participated in the sixth round of Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) between the two countries.

Germany intends to strengthen its financial and technical cooperation and other assistance to India with a long-term goal of at least euro 10 billion of new and additional commitments till 2030 under this partnership. This will support inter alia the achievement of their ambitious goals in the climate action and sustainable development space, further promote German-Indian research and development (R&D), encourage private investment and thus aim at leveraging further funding. India and Germany stress the importance of swift implementation of existing and future commitments,” both sides said in a joint statement.

Thanking Scholz for the fresh financial commitment, Modi said: “Both sides launched Indo-Germany partnership on green and sustainable development. By raising its climate ambition in Glasgow, India has shown that for us green and sustainable growth is an article of faith.”

Both sides agreed to work together on triangular cooperation, based on individual strengths and experiences in development cooperation and offer sustainable, viable and inclusive projects in third countries to support the achievement of sustainable development goals and climate targets. “This effort will provide an alternative to the developing world for transparent and sustainable project finance,” Modi said.

Keeping in mind the complementary stance of both countries, India and Germany decided to launch a green hydrogen taskforce. “This will be beneficial to expand green hydrogen infrastructure in both countries,” Modi said.

The two countries expressed their “strong support” for the upcoming negotiations between the European Union and India on a Free Trade Agreement, an Investment Protection Agreement and an Agreement on Geographical Indications, and underlined the enormous potential of such agreements for expanding bilateral trade and investment. Negotiations for the proposed FTA are expected to begin in June, after the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) 12th ministerial meeting. EU ambassador to India Ugo Astuto on Friday told reporters that both sides hope to finalise a comprehensive free trade deal by early 2024.

The countries also decided to negotiate a bilateral agreement on a comprehensive Migration and Mobility Partnership by initiating the draft agreement in English. “They agreed to take action to swiftly sign the agreement and bring it into force. They highlighted the importance of this agreement in facilitating two-way mobility of students, professionals and researchers as well as addressing the challenges of illegal migration,” the joint statement said.

Modi said today’s sixth IGC has given new direction to India-Germany cooperation. “This IGC has given significant guidance to our cooperation in energy and environment. I am confident that today’s decisions will have a positive impact on the future of our region and the world.”

The countries highlighted the importance of the World Trade Organisation as the centre of the multilateral trading system and central pillar of integrating developing countries into the global trading system. “Both governments committed to reforming the WTO with the objective of strengthening its principles and functions, especially, preserving the two-tier Appellate Body, along with the autonomy of the Appellate Body,” the joint statement said.

The Russia question

On Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the divergent positions of India and Germany was apparent from the joint statement. While Germany expressed “strong condemnation of the unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine by Russian Forces”, both sides agreed only to express “serious concern” about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

“They unequivocally condemned civilian deaths in Ukraine. They reiterated the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities. They emphasised that the contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states. They discussed the destabilising effect of the conflict in Ukraine and its broader regional and global implications,” the joint statement said.
 

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Confident of agreement with India on war crime accountability: German Chancellor​

AHEAD of his meeting Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin — their first since his election as German Chancellor in December 2021 — Olaf Scholz has told The Indian Express that he is “confident” there is a “broad agreement” between India and Germany on Russian actions that violate “core principles of the UN Charter”, and on the principle that “massacres against the civilian population are war crimes” and
“those responsible must be held accountable”.

Modi, who leaves for Berlin Sunday night, is expected to hold talks on a range of bilateral issues. Scholz said the “fight against climate change” and “efforts for sustainable development” will be part of the common agenda, and “concluding a Free Trade Agreement” between India and the EU would be an “important step.” Edited excerpts of the interview:

Chancellor, this is your first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in your current capacity. It comes when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has posed a new challenge in the geo-political landscape. How do you see India’s position on Russia, what’s your message to India?

The Government Consultations with the Republic of India are the first such consultations since I took office in December. This might give you an idea of the importance the relationship with India has for my administration. I am looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi and several members of his government here in Berlin. This will be an opportunity not only to deepen our already close relationship, but to bring them to a whole new dimension.

The attack on Ukraine by Russia is on the top of the agenda for all of Europe and beyond. Russia’s war breaks with the core principles of the UN-Charter; sovereignty and the inviolability of international borders. The brutality of the Russian aggression against civilians in Ukraine is shocking and appalling. Massacres against the civilian population are war crimes and those responsible must be held accountable. I am confident that there is broad agreement between our two countries on this.​


India’s position stems from its dependence on Russia for military supplies. Germany, too, is dependent on Russia for energy security. Do you see both countries responding differently as they make strategic choices?
The Russian invasion of Ukraine shatters the homes, the livelihoods and the very lives of Ukrainians. I have called on President Putin before and I do so here again, to end this war now. As a response to this massive and unacceptable breach of international law, the European Union has adopted – together with our transatlantic partners – unprecedented sanctions against the Russian Federation and against individuals contributing to this war in order to impose on them severe costs for this war.

Many countries have joined these sanctions, even if this necessarily implies economic costs for ourselves. We are furthermore now implementing a very ambitious policy to reduce our dependency on the import of fossil fuels from Russia. We will stop the import of Russian coal this summer, we will phase out Russian oil until the end of the year and will reduce gas imports from Russia severely.

This war, that Russia brought upon Ukraine, has severe consequences for the global economy, affecting, for example, the supply of wheat and food security worldwide. Germany, as G7 presidency, supports our partners in alleviating the effects of Russia‘s war on global food security.

India has faced challenges in its neighbourhood from China, which has amassed troops along the border. China’s action in the Indo-Pacific has also posed challenges…How does Germany’s Indo-Pacific strategy address concerns arising out of Beijing’s actions in the Indo-Pacific?

The intergovernmental consultations are, first and foremost, about German-Indian relations. Of course, we will also talk about international relations and the overall security environment. Our Indo-Pacific guidelines lay down our general approach, which is above all multilateral and inclusive.

The India-Germany intergovernmental consultations are happening after almost three years, and a lot has changed since: Covid-19, conflict in Europe, turmoil in Afghanistan and rise of Taliban. How do the two countries plan to address these…what are the areas of cooperation you are looking at?

India is the largest democracy in the world and a vibrant economy in South Asia. For Germany, India is a like-minded partner of high importance. We want to deepen our cooperation in a wide variety of areas, politically and economically. The fight against climate change and our efforts for sustainable development will be on our common agenda. Germany would also like to contribute to further strengthening the ties between India and the European Union. Concluding a free trade agreement between India and the EU would be an important step in this regard.