India-EU Leaders’ Summit to be held virtually in May 2021, PM Modi cancels visit to Portugal


The 16thIndia-European Union (EU) Leaders’ Summit that was scheduled to be held in Porto, Portugal will now be held virtually on May 08, 2021, due to an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases across the world. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be going to Porto, Portugal.

As per the statement by Arindam Bagchi, official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, “In view of the COVID-19 situation, it has been decided, in consultation with the EU and Portuguese leadership, to hold the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting in a virtual format on 8 May 2021.”

Bagchi said that the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting in the EU+27 format being held for the first time reflects the shared ambition of both countries to further strengthen the ‘strategic partnership’.

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union will be a key focus during the 16th India-EU Leaders’ Summit.The FTA between both countries was launched in 2007 and suspended in 2012.

The 15th India-EU Leaders’ Summit was also conducted virtually on July 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

India-EU Relations:

•India was amongst the first countries to develop diplomatic relations with the European Union (EU) back in the 1960s. Both the countries signed a cooperation agreement in 1994 and in 2004, India and EU became ‘strategic partners’.

•India and the EU adopted a Joint Action Plan in 2005 to further strengthen the political and economic ties, expand trade and investments channels, and forge friendly relations between people and cultures of both countries.

•The first India-EU Summit was held in June 2000 in Lisbon.

•The EU is the largest trading partner of India. The EU is also the second-largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment inflow for India.

•India is the 10th largest trading partner of the European Union (EU).

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