Your Excellencies, President Tusk and President Juncker,
Members of the media,
I am delighted to have the opportunity to welcome President Tusk and President Juncker for the 14th India-EU Summit.
India values her multi-faceted partnership with the EU, and we attach high importance to our strategic partnership. India was amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community in 1962.
The European Union has been our largest trade partner for a long time. It is also one of our largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment.
As the world’s largest democracies, we are natural partners. Our close relations are founded on the shared values of democracy, rule of law, respect for fundamental freedoms and multiculturalism.
We also share the vision of a multi-polar, rules-based international order. Since the 13th Summit in Brussels last year, our relationship has steadily gained momentum. To use the words of President Juncker a few days ago, India-European Union relations today have a good wind in their sails!
I am heartily thankful to President Tusk and President Juncker for the productive discussions that we have had today on our wide-ranging agenda.
We have expanded the India-EU engagement into many new sectors and have agreed that we must continue our efforts to make it more comprehensive and beneficial, based on mutual trust and understanding.
Today, we have reviewed the progress in implementation of the decisions taken at our last Summit, and the Agenda 2020 announced last year.
We have agreed to strengthen our security cooperation and work together against terrorism. We will not only further strengthen our bilateral cooperation on this issue, but will also increase our cooperation and coordination in multilateral fora.
On Clean Energy and Climate Change, we are both committed to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Addressing climate change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy are our shared priorities. We also reaffirmed our commitment to undertake mutual cooperation for reducing the cost of deployment of renewable energy.
We will strengthen our cooperation with European Union in developing Smart Cities and upgrading urban infrastructure.
I am pleased that the India-EU Horizontal Civil Aviation Agreement has now been operationalized. I am confident that this will enhance air connectivity between us and help to foster people-to-people contact.
An important aspect of our relationship is our cooperation in Science and Technology, and in Research and Innovation. In this context, I welcome the Agreement concluded today on mobility of young scientists and researchers.
The signing of loan agreements for development projects in India with the European Investment Bank is also a welcome step.
I also appreciate the decision of the European Investment Bank to fund solar-related projects in member countries of the International Solar Alliance.
We are also committed to working with the EU to further deepen our cooperation in strengthening our trade and investment flows.
I thank you for your leadership and your contribution to the strengthening of the India EU strategic Partnership. It is my hope and expectation that your next visit to India would not be such a brief one!
Thank you very much.