EU, India to launch Trade and Technology Council

New Delhi, April 25 .The European Commission and India on Monday agreed to launch the EU-India Trade and Technology Council here “to tackle challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security, and thus deepen cooperation in these fields”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is on a two-day visit to strengthen the strategic partnership with India, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi following which the decision was announced. “Strengthening the EU-India partnership is a key priority for this decade. We will step up cooperation in trade, technology and security. This is why I’m pleased that Narendra Modi and I will establish an EU-India Trade and Technology Council,” Ursula von der Leyen tweeted after meeting Modi.

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, a joint statement said. Both sides agreed that rapid changes in the geopolitical environment highlight the need for joint in-depth strategic engagement. “The EU is India’s 3rd most important trade partner and one of its main investors. And we can do so much more. Our teams will soon begin negotiations on trade and investment agreements,” Leyen said in another tweet. The decision to set up a Trade and Technology Council will be the first for India with any of its partners and the second for the European Union following the first one it has set up with the US.

“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,” the joint statement added. “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.”

Earlier, Ursula von der Leyen met External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar. Both leaders exchanged views on the economic and political implications of the Ukraine conflict. She also paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.