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Transcript of Special Briefing by JS (EW) following the India-Luxembourg Virtual Summit (19th Nov 2020)

November 20, 2020

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Friends! Namaskar and good evening. Welcome to this special virtual briefing on the just concluded India-Luxembourg virtual bilateral Summit. I have with me Join Secretary (Europe West), Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (EW) who will make his opening remarks and then we'll take your questions. Over to you Sandeep.

Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (EW): Thank you Anurag. Namaskar. Good evening. We just concluded the virtual Summit between India and Luxembourg. This was the first ever virtual Summit between the two leaders. The last such formal interaction between the prime minister's of Luxembourg and India took place almost 20 years back, when the then prime minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker visited India. Our prime ministers had met on several occasions in the past, but this was the first formal structured meeting. The meeting focused on constructive engagement on our bilateral relationship and especially giving the strength of the Luxembourg economy and our needs. It focused on the financial sector, it focused on fintech, on green financing, and on space applications. They also discussed the people-to-people ties. There was also discussion, a great deal of discussion, on deepening business ties between the two countries. As you all know, Luxembourg is a founding member of the EU and in this context the two leaders exchanged views on further strengthening India-EU relations, including forward movement on India-EU trade agreements and investment agreements. There was also discussions on multilateral cooperation and achieving effective and reform multilateralism. Global issues like terrorism and climate change were also discussed. The two sides shared the commitment for working towards effective and reformed multilateralism. Prime Minister Modi highlighted the challenge the global community faces from terrorism and the need to eradicate it in all its forms and manifestations. Views were also exchanged on climate change and Prime Minister Bettel conveyed the intention of Luxembourg to join the International Solar Alliance. Prime Minister Modi invited Luxembourg to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. There was also a lot of discussion on the Covid situation, on the vaccine development and also the infrastructure for vaccine delivery and there was a lot of discussion on how the two countries could cooperate in fighting the pandemic and also on post-pandemic recovery. Three agreements were signed coinciding with the Summit. One was between the Luxembourg Stock Exchange with State Bank of India and with the India International Stock Exchange and the third agreement was between Lux Innovation and Invest India. It was also agreed that both sides will institute regular foreign office consultations. Prime Minister Bettel invited Prime Minister Modi to visit Luxembourg and Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the invitation to Prime Minister Bettel to visit India. That's my opening remarks Anurag.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Thank you Sandeep. Moving on to the questions, I'll start with a question from Sidhant from the WION - "he wants to know anything on the India-EU FTA, was it discussed?"

Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (EW): As you know, Luxembourg is a founding member of the EU and plays a special role within the EU and in all conversations with EU member states the trade agreement with EU is discussed. As you know, in the 15th Summit held on July 15, the two leaders, the European leaders and Prime Minister Modi had agreed to set up a high-level mechanism. Now we didn't have a trade commissioner in the EU for some time now. We have a new trade commissioner. He has written to our Honorable CIM and discussions are on, on soon having the meeting of the high-level mechanism. In fact today, the sub-commission on India-EU trade has met and there is forward movement. And as soon as the dates of the meeting are discussed this mechanism will take on the task of starting the negotiations or the discussions on India-EU trade and investment agreement.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: The next question is from Sandeep Dikshit from The Tribune - "are there plans to raise debt stock investment from Luxembourg?"

Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (EW): It's a very relevant question in the context of Luxembourg, because Luxembourg Stock Exchange and funds based out of Luxembourg are the third largest investors in to India. As far as I know, foreign portfolio investments from Luxembourg total more than 3 lakh crores and after US and Mauritius, Luxembourg is the largest portfolio investor in India. They have also set up the Green Exchange and there are also very innovative financing mechanisms available in Luxembourg. Prime Minister Bettel mentioned this in great detail and asked Prime Minister Modi to encourage Indian companies to raise capital for environment-friendly or green projects in Luxembourg and the point which I want to also make is that many Indian companies have raised. The first "Masala Bonds" were raised in Luxembourg, many Indian companies have GDRs in Luxembourg and the figure is more than twelve to thirteen billion dollars and many Indian companies are listed in the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. So it's a very vibrant and dynamic financial sector relationship between India and Luxembourg. We are also going to have, very soon an agreement between the financial regulators that is CSSF of Luxembourg and SEBI and as you know, the MoU between INX and the Luxembourg Exchange was signed. So, I think the potents are very good for greater financial sector collaboration between India and Luxembourg.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: There's another question from Sidhant from WION - "we are having a number of virtual Summits with Europe, EU, Denmark, Italy, now Luxembourg. In fact of the six virtual Summits, four are with European leaders. Any specific reason the outreach by New Delhi to Europe?" And there's a similar question from Neeraj from the News18 - "pradhanmantri ne kul 6 virtual dwipakshiya sammelan mein 4 Europiya netaon ke saath kia hai. Europe pe focus ka maksad kya hai? Kya corona baad ke aarthik chunautiyon se nipatne ke liye PM ka focus Europe par hai? Kya corona baadkeaarthikchunautiyon se nipatnekeliye PM ka focus Europe par hai?"(Questioned in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Prime Minister had in total 6 virtual bilateral summits, out of which four were with European leaders. What is the purpose of focus on Europe? Is the PM's focus on Europe is for dealing with the post-Corona economic challenges?”

Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (EW): Haan, I think yeh sawaal bahut mahatvapoorn hai aur bahut acha hai ki Europe ke netayon ke saath yeh shikhar vartayen ho rahi hain aur is mahine Europe West division ki taraf se yeh doosra shikhar varta raha. Pehle Italy ke saath 6 November ko tha aur aap theek keh rahe hain ki pehle Denmark ke saath bhi hua hai.

Iske kai karan hai, ek to covid ke doran Bharat aur European countries ke beech mein kafi sahiyog ki stithi thi aur wahan se bhi sahyog aaya. Bharat ne bhi bahut deshon ko sahyog pahunchaya, chahe woh dawaiyan ho, chahe woh PPE ho, to isse ek covid ke doraan bhi kafi dono Europe ke deshon mein aur Bharat ke beech mein kafi adaan pradan raha hai, aur Bharatiya mul ke log bhi wahan hain aur sabse badi baat yeh bhi hai ki 15 July ko European Union ke saath shikhar varta hua to uska fal swarup aur uska followup may be European countries Bharat ki taraf dekh rahi hain aur swabhavik hai ki post-covid economic recovery ke liye jab hum resilient supply chains ki baat kar rahe hain, ya diversification of supply chains ki baat kar rahe hain, to European countries Bharat ki taraf dekh rahi hain, nayi nigah se dekh rahi hain, kaafi utsukta ke saath dekh rahi hain, aur hamare liye bhi jab hum Atmanirbhar Bharat ke bare mein baat karte hain to European niveshako ko hum aamantrit kar rahe hain, abhi haal hi mein 10 sectors mein productivity linked incentives ki scheme jo announce kari, usme bhi bahut roochi hai European countries ki, to swabhavik hai ki Europe jo ek net investor raha hai vishwa mein woh Bharat ki taraf dekhega aur iske chalte itne saare jo vartayen ho rahi hain Europe ke saath, yeh mujhe lagta hai ki swabhawik hai aur aage bhi chalke aisi cheezen hoti rahengi. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Yes I think this question is very important and very good that this summit is happening with the leaders of Europe and this month this was the second summit from Europe West Division, first with Italy on 6 November and you are right ittook place earlier with Denmark too. There are many reasons for this. During Covid there was great cooperation between India and the European countries and there was cooperation from their side too. India also helped many countries, whether it was medicines or PPE kits.During this there has been a lot of exchange between the countries of Europe and India. People of Indian origin are also there and the biggest thing is that on July 15, we had a summit with the European Union. As a follow up,the European countries are looking towards India. It is natural that when we are talking about a resilient supply chain for post Covid economic recovery, when we are talking about the diversification of supply chain, the European countries are looking towards India, looking with keenness. And for us too, when we talk about self-reliant India, we are inviting European investors. Recently, there is also a lot of interest shown by the European countries in the productivity linked incentive scheme announced for 10 sectors. Europe, which has remaineda net investor in the world so far, will look towards India and because of this so many summits are taking place with Europe, it seems to me that it is natural and such things will continue to happen in the future too.”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: "In terms of space, what was the key focus? Will we see India launching satellites of Luxembourg.?" This is from Sidhant.

Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (EW): Haan Sidhant, in fact launching kyun, why see, India launched last week jo PSLV3 ke launch hui thi usme chaar to Luxembourg ki satellites the, to Luxembourg ek bahut bada satellite hub hai, unki jo wahan pe ek society hai SES wo Bharat mein kaafi, Bharatiya companies ke saath, ISRO ke saath, kaafi ache tareeke se kaam kar rahi hain. Bahut sara jo yeh low earth orbit pe satellites hain, aur jo airplanes my satellite communication hoti hai woh Luxembourg dish company ke satellites ke madhyam se hoti hai, to usme ISRO ka bahut mahatvapoorn yogdaan hai, aur hum log is waqt ek agreement ki bhi baat kar rahe hain between ISRO and the Luxembourg Space Organization, to asha hai ki woh jaldi usko hum la payenge, to space mein aur cooperation ki bahut bahut sambhavnayen hain aur ho bhi rahi hain. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) "Yes Sidhant, in fact why launching? India launched last week. Out of the satellites which was launched by PSLV, four satellites belonged to Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a very big satellite hub. They have a society named SES and it is jointly doing lot of work with many Indian companies and with ISRO too. A lot of all these low earth orbit satellites and the satellite communication within the airplanes is through the satellites of Luxembourg dish company, ISRO has a very significant contribution in that and we are also talking about an agreement presently between ISRO and the Luxembourg Space Organization and we hope that it will be concluded soon.There are a lot of possibilities of further cooperation in the space.”

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: Another question from Sidhant - "RuPay card has gone International, several countries in the region are now welcoming it. Is Luxembourg or Europe next?"

Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (EW): Yeh thoda mere liye kathin sawaal hai, jawaab dena, lekin main to chahunga ki RuPay vishwa mein No 1 card ho, aur jahan jahan Bharat ke saath interaction hai, wahan RuPay launch hona chahiye. Luxembourg mein is tareeke se population bahut chota country hai, kareeb sawa che lakh log hain to mujhe nahin lagta ki woh targeted countries mein se hai, yeh aapko RuPay walo se poochna padega, lekin jahan pe population zyada hai ya Bharatiya mul ke log zyada hain, ya adan pradan, tourism zyada hai, wahan pe of course target karna chahiye, to kai Europiya desh hain jo iske liye mujhe lagta hai ki better candidates honge jaise ki UK, Netherlands, Italy, jahan pe Bharatiya mul ke log zyada hai, aur Bharat ke beech mein logo ka aana jana zyada rahega. (Answered in Hindi; Approximate translation) " It is a bit difficult question for me to answer but I wish that RuPay becomes No.1 card in the world. RuPay should be launched wherever there is interaction with India. Since Luxembourg is a small nation with approximately six hundred and twenty five thousand population, I don’t think it is among the targeted countries. This you have to check with RuPay people. It should be targeted where the population is more or there is a large Indian population, more exchanges and more tourism. I feel that there will be better candidates among the European countries like UK, Netherlands, Italy where we have large Indian population and people will be travelling more between India and these countries.

Shri Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson: I don't see any further questions Sandeep. So thank you so much for joining us and this concludes the special briefing. We will resume very shortly with our weekly briefing. See you in a few minutes.

Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (EW): Thank you Anurag.

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