PM Modi’s visit to Brussels for summit with EU postponed due to coronavirus outbreak


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Brussels this month to hold a summit meeting with the European Union has been postponed in view of the global spread of coronavirus.

Modi was expected to visit Brussels on March 13 for the annual summit which was set to lay ground for deeper trade and investment ties between India and the 27-nation block.

“With regard to the proposed India-EU Summit, both sides have agreed that due to health authorities advising against travel between regions, it would be wise to re-schedule the summit to a later mutually convenient date,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing.

He said the decision has been taken in the spirit of the close cooperation between India and the EU.

The MEA spokesperson said the EU also shared same concerns and commitment with India to global health and hoped that the outbreak is contained soon.

“So, it has been decided that the Summit will be rescheduled on a mutually convenient date,” he said.

An official of the European Union said both sides have decided to postpone the summit in view of the global spread of coronavirus.

“In view of precautionary measures related to the global spread of COVID-19, the EU and India have jointly decided to postpone the EU-India summit foreseen initially for 13 March in Brussels,” the official said.

“The two sides will now look to agree on a new summit date through mutual consultations. In the meantime, we will continue to work on our joint agenda to make progress across all aspects of our relations,” he said.

The official said the two sides will now look to agree on a new date for the summit through mutual consultations.

“In the meantime, we will continue work on our joint agenda to make progress across all aspects of our relations,” he said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Belgium last month to prepare the ground for Modi’s visit for the summit.

Jaishankar’s visit came weeks after the European Parliament postponed a vote on a motion against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act.

A number of member countries of the EU including Italy and Belgium are reeling under rising cases of coronavirus.

On Modi’s proposed visit to Bangladesh, Kumar said the prime minister will go to the neighbouring country to attend the centenary celebrations of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

He said Modi accepted Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s invitation to attend the celebrations.

“We will share the details later,” Kumar said.

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Updated: March 5, 2020 — 7:55 pm

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