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Prime Minister Modi signs high-level visit to France after India-EU summit in Portugal




Prime Minister Modi, who will travel to Portugal for the India-EU summit to be held in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, will continue the second leg of his tour to France for a bilateral visit.

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi

PUBLISHED APR 04, 2021 12:37 IST

India and the European Union are expected to signal the start of negotiations for a broad-based trade and investment agreement (BBTIA) at Portugal’s May 8 summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the India-EU summit in Lisbon before flying to France for a high-level bilateral visit, people familiar with the matter said.

Technical negotiations on the trade deal, which are also being led by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar at the diplomatic level, will begin April 9-19. It is possible that a meeting between Trade Minister Piyush Goyal and Executive Vice President and EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis later this month. The date of the Goyal-Dombrovskis meeting has yet to be decided, EU diplomats said.

Although India is one of the EU’s main trading partners, trade negotiations, which started in 2007, have been slow in the past with differences on tariff levels for wines and spirits, automotive components, small cars and data security. However, both sides have shown more accommodation this time around and are willing to take a positive view of the exports from the two blocs, a senior official said.

Read also | India calls pressure tactics on major economies to gain unfair market access

The EU will be under pressure to secure the trade deal with India as India is expected to sign a post-Brexit bilateral trade deal with Britain during British Prime Minister Boris Johnsons visit to New Delhi on April 26 .

Prime Minister Modi, who will travel to Portugal for the India-EU summit to be held in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, will continue the second leg of his tour to France for a bilateral visit. Maritime security will be at the heart of his summit talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

While the vast program of the bilateral visit to France will be finalized during the two-day visit of Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian to India from April 12, the two countries should give new meaning to cooperation in this area. defense and security outside of the synergy policy in multilateral platforms. Diplomatic advisor to President Macron, Emmanuel Bonne is also deeply involved in the bilateral exercise with particular emphasis on the acquisition of new capabilities and the latest technologies to counter any aggression in the Indo-Pacific.

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