Coronavirus Impact : Prime Minister Narendra Modi Cancels Brussels Trip, India-EU Summit Too Deferred

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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 coronavirus outbreak in various parts of the world.

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 hope that the outbreak is contained soon.

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

Over 3,200 people have died of coronavirus while it has infected more than 92,000 people in over 65 countries, triggering a global health emergency.

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

Jaishankar visited Brussels 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 be visiting the neighbouring country to attend the centenary celebrations of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Kumar 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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