NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen here on Monday and urged for a physical India-European Union summit.
The German politician is in the capital as the chief guest of Raisina Dialogue, India’s geo-economic conclave that was started on Monday.
She arrived in India on Sunday for a two-day official visit, her first as president of the European Commission.
“The last meeting between India and the European Commission was on virtual mode due to COVID. But I hope we will be able to have an in-person summit soon and can have a deeper discussion,” PM Modi told von der Leyen.
The EU is India’s 3rd most important trade partner and one of its main investors. And we can do so much more.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) April 25, 2022
“Excellency, I wish you a very warm welcome in India. India is no stranger to you and you’re no stranger to India. You have visited India many times in the past. But this time you have arrived in India for the first time in your present capacity as the President of EC,” PM Modi said, extending a warm welcome to von der Leyen.
“I would also like to thank you for addressing the Raisina Dialogue today because your words will not just be heard by the intellectual and academic community in India but by the world. The world is watching what you have to say. When my foreign minister visited, you had good meetings with him and deep conversations with him. Your leadership is going to be very important to open up new avenues and take India-EU relations to new heights,” PM Modi added.
Hailing the 60th anniversary of the EU-India relationship, von der Leyen said, “It’s a pleasure to visit India again. Indeed, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the EU-India relationship and I think this relationship is today more important than ever. We’re vibrant democracies, large economies. We have a lot in common but we are also facing a challenge. So, I highly appreciate this meeting.”
Terming India as a technological powerhouse, she said, “We will have many topics to discuss – security and climate change but certainly we will also look intensively on technology, digital innovation and trade.”
“The European Union has only one Trade and Technology Council in place and that is with the United States. I think, therefore, it is time to put up a second Trade and Technology Council with India. And, we have India as a technological powerhouse.”
In a tweet, she underscored the cooperation in the domain of energy security, especially in solar and green hydrogen.
“Energy security is one of the most pressing topics for India and Europe. The EU will diversify away from Russian fossil fuels and will invest heavily in clean renewable energy. So cooperation on solar and green hydrogen is key. #GlobalGateway can play a crucial role here,” Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet.