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PM Narendra Modi cancels Europe visit as COVID-19 2nd wave hits India

The India-EU summit is scheduled for May 8 in Porto, the second-largest city of Portugal.

April 20, 2021 / 11:24 AM IST
The India-EU summit is scheduled for May 8 in Porto, the second-largest city of Portugal.

The India-EU summit is scheduled for May 8 in Porto, the second-largest city of Portugal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not visit Portugal to attend in person the 16th annual India-European Union summit in May in the wake of a raging second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, reported CNN News18, citing sources in the government.

The prime minister has also called off the scheduled visit to France next month, said the report.

“The PM’s visit to Portugal called off due to rising COVID-19 numbers in India,” stated the report quoting government sources.

The India-EU summit is scheduled for May 8 in Porto, the second-largest city of Portugal. It will now likely be held virtually and PM Modi may make an appearance at the summit via videoconferencing.

The 15th summit between India and the EU was held via video conference on July 15, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In the summit, PM Modi pitched for bringing out an "action-oriented" agenda to further expand ties between India and the 27-nation European Union within a stipulated time frame.

In his inaugural remarks, PM Modi said he was committed to enhance ties with the grouping, noting that a long-term strategic perspective should be adopted to boost the relationship. Calling India and EU as "natural partners", the prime minister said the partnership is beneficial for peace and stability in the world.

The EU is a strategically important grouping for India. The EU as a whole was India's largest trading partner in 2018. India's bilateral trade with the EU in 2018-19 stood at $115.6 billion with exports valued at $57.17 billion and imports worth $58.42 billion.

PM Modi’s visit to France has also been called off. Any decision regarding fresh dates of the virtual bilateral meeting has yet been taken, said the report.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has canceled his planned visit to India due to the coronavirus situation in the country. Johnson, who admitted it was frustrating but only sensible to call off the visit, will instead speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in April to launch their plans for the future UK-India partnership, with their physical meeting expected later in the year.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 20, 2021 11:24 am

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