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India, EU ‘committed to deepening partnership’

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India and the EU have said they are committed to deepening their partnership to accelerate the growth and deployment of advanced digital technologies.

A joint statement after the first meeting of the India-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) said the two sides “emphasised the importance of the rules-based international order and full respect for the principles of sovereignty…”

The meeting, which concluded in Brussels on Tuesday (16), was co-chaired by executive vice-presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis on the EU side, and external affairs minister S Jaishankar, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, and skill development and IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on the Indian side.

The joint statement called for an annual TTC meeting alternating between the EU and India, with the next meeting planned for early 2024 in India.

It said Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had agreed to set up the TTC as a key coordination platform to address key trade, technology and security challenges.

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An EU statement said the TTC would help increase EU-India bilateral trade, which was at “historical highs”, with €120 billion (£104.31 bn) worth of goods traded in 2022.

The EU described the two-way trade relationship as “robust”, with the 27-member economic union being India’s second-largest trading partner. India being the EU’s 10th-largest trading partner.

Work under the TTC would proceed parallel to the ongoing negotiations for on trade, investment protection and geographical indications, the EU said.

“Both partners also committed to seek cooperation on trustworthy artificial intelligence and coordinate their policies with regards to the strategic semiconductors sector through a dedicated memorandum of understanding… They will enhance the interoperability of their respective digital public infrastructures…” it said.

As part of the TTC discussions this week, both sides agreed to address global and multilateral trade issues, with emphasis on the World Trade Organisation and engagement on carbon border measures.

Water management, recycling of batteries for e-vehicles and strengthening the role of start-ups and building skills and capacity were among the topics covered.

The EU said it would cooperate with India on quantum and high-performance computing research and development projects to help address challenges such as climate change and natural disasters and improve healthcare via personalised medicine.

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