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THE TIMES OF INDIA

Agencies Sep 19, 2011, 06.45pm IST

AHMEDABAD: Attempting an image makeover, Narendra Modi today wound up his three-day fast for communal harmony, claiming his government made no distinction between minority and majority communities and skirted the issue of his being in the BJP's prime ministerial race.

Taking the stage after a speech by party leader M Venkaiah Naidu that Modi is "prime minister material", the Gujarat chief minister said his fast should not be seen from the prism of politics but from that of national interest.

The 54-year-old leader, who announced his fast plans after the Supreme Court refused to pass any orders against him in the Ehsan Jafri murder case and a US Congressional report projecting him as a PM candidate against Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 elections, carefully avoided any reference to talk about his being in the race in the party for the top post.

"The inspiration behind this sadbhavna (communal harmony) mission is rashtra-neeti (national interest) and not rajneeti (politics)," Modi said while vowing again to end vote bank politics. The chief minister, who has often come under attack for the 2002 post-Godhra violence that claimed the lives of over a thousand Muslims, said that people of different faiths have come and supported him in the fast.

In his 30-minute speech, he again did not offer any regret or apology over the violence that followed the Sabarmati train carnage.

"People of all faiths are here. It is not just an overnight phenomenon. It is the fruit of 10 years of labour that my government has done. I have given them this reason for this faith," he claimed.

Earlier, the chief minister broke his fast sipping from a glass of lemon juice offered by men of various faiths as top BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu and Gopinath Munde watched.

Pariksha Pe Charcha with PM Modi
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Trade and beyond: a new impetus to the EU-India Partnership

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Trade and beyond: a new impetus to the EU-India Partnership
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INDIA-EU LEADERS' MEETING
May 08, 2021
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At the invitation of the President of the European Council Mr. Charles Michel, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting today.

The meeting was held in a hybrid format with the participation of leaders of all the 27 EU Member States as well as the President of the European Council and the European Commission. This is the first time that the EU hosted a meeting with India in the EU+27 format. The meeting was the initiative of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

During the meeting, the leaders expressed their desire to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on a shared commitment to democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law and multilateralism. They exchanged views on three key thematic areas: i) foreign policy and security; ii) COVID-19, climate and environment; and iii) trade, connectivity and technology. They discussed forging closer cooperation on combating the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery, tackling climate change, and reforming multilateral institutions. India appreciated the prompt assistance provided by the EU and its member states to combat its second COVID wave.

The leaders welcomed the decision to resume negotiations for balanced and comprehensive free trade and investment agreements. Negotiations on both the Trade and Investment Agreements will be pursued on parallel tracks with an intention to achieve early conclusion of both agreements together. This is a major outcome which will enable the two sides to realise the full potential of the economic partnership. India and the EU also announced dedicated dialogues on WTO issues, regulatory cooperation, market access issues and supply chain resilience, demonstrating the desire to deepen and further diversify economic engagement.

India and the EU launched an ambitious and comprehensive ‘Connectivity Partnership’ which is focused on enhancing digital, energy, transport and people-to-people connectivity. The Partnership is based on the shared principles of social, economic, fiscal, climate and environmental sustainability, and respect for international law and commitments. The Partnership will catalyse private and public financing for connectivity projects. It will also foster new synergies for supporting connectivity initiatives in third countries, including in the Indo-Pacific.

India and the EU leaders reiterated their commitment to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and agreed to strengthen joint efforts for mitigation, adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change, as well as providing means of implementation including finance in the context of COP26. India welcomed the EU’s decision to join CDRI.

India and the EU also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on digital and emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, Quantum and High-Performance Computing including through the early operationalization of the Joint Task Force on AI and the Digital Investment Forum.

The leaders noted with satisfaction the growing convergences on regional and global issues, including counterterrorism, cybersecurity and maritime cooperation. The leaders acknowledged the importance of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific and agreed to closely engage in the region, including in the context of India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative and the EU’s new strategy on the Indo-Pacific.

Coinciding with the Leaders’ Meeting, an India-EU Business Roundtable was organised to highlight the avenues for cooperation in climate, digital and healthcare. A finance contract of Euro 150 million for the Pune Metro Rail Project was signed by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and European Investment Bank.

India-EU Leaders Meeting has set a significant milestone by providing a new direction to the Strategic Partnership and giving a fresh impetus for implementing the ambitious India-EU Roadmap 2025 adopted at the 15th India-EU Summit held in July 2020.