Overseas Secretary to go to ‘previous’ Europe

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28

India will resume the pre-Covid tempo of building contacts with Europe with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla scheduled to visit France, Germany and the UK from October 29 to November 4.

All three countries are strategic partners of India with which it has close and well-established relations. Bilateral ties are multi-dimensional and have grown rapidly.

During his visit, Foreign Secretary will review bilateral relations and discuss matters of mutual interest and share Indian perspectives with his counterparts and with other key interlocutors.

He will also interact with businesspersons, academics, intellectuals and media persons in these three countries, including at Policy Exchange in London and IFRI in Paris.

The Foreign Secretary will also discuss international cooperation in dealing with the ongoing pandemic and its consequences.

The MEA says India’s relations with France, Germany and UK are informed by a commonality of interest in issues such as sustainable development and climate change.

India has very substantial trade and commercial ties and large investment flows with these countries. India also works closely with these countries in multilateral and plurilateral platforms on various issues.

Indian priorities such as robust and reformed multilateralism, its expanded multilateral and plurilateral engagements, including its forthcoming non-permanent tenure in the UN Security Council, and its commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific will be discussed, the ministry added.

The Indian push comes at a time when China-wariness is becoming a dominant theme in Europe. All three countries that Shringla will visit have decided not to allow Chinese companies to supply 5G equipment.

France has started taking an interest in the wider Indian and Pacific Oceans in addition to its traditional preoccupation with maritime events in its protectorates. Germany too is taking a deeper interest in the developing confrontation in the Indo-Pacific while the UK has been a traditional US ally for influence and intelligence operations.

The visit closely follows the third 2+2 India-US dialogue that saw India move closer in military information sharing.

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