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EU chief Ursula von der Leyen begins India tour

Dharvi Vaid
April 24, 2022

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in New Delhi for her first official visit. She is set to hold talks on climate change, trade and security.

Von der Leyen plants a sapling during her visit to India
Ursula von der Leyen attended an event called 'Youth for a Greener future' in IndiaImage: Money Sharma/AFP

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in India on Sunday as part of a two-day visit aimed at strengthening European Union-India ties.

She has kick-started her tour with talks on energy issues and a visit to the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, where she met young climate activists.

The European bloc is on the path to climate neutrality with the EU Green Deal, von Der Leyen said on Twitter after the talks.

"But Europe alone won't save our planet. It's a global effort, and we need to work with India. And we count on you, the young people, to keep fighting for the climate,” she tweeted.

Von der Leyen is also scheduled to address the International Solar Alliance, the European Commission said.

She will meet political and business representatives later in the evening.

Indians transit Balkans en route to EU

Ukraine on the agenda

On Monday, the EU chief will hold a bilateral dialogue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The war in Ukraine is likely to be a key point of discussion during von der Leyen's visit, as India has not officially condemned the Russian invasion.

She will also meet India's President Ram Nath Kovind and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

"India and the European Union share a vibrant Strategic Partnership which has been witnessing strong growth with wider and deeper cooperation in Political and Strategic, Trade and Commerce, Climate and Sustainability, Digital and Technology aspects as well as people-to-people ties," India's External Affairs Ministry said in a statement ahead of von der Leyen's visit.

Trade, connectivity and security are also among the issues on the EU chief's New Delhi agenda.

Before leaving for New Delhi, von der Leyen praised EU-India relations.

Brussels and New Delhi have "built a solid friendship" over the last 60 years, and would like to take their cooperation "to the next level," she said on Twitter.

The visit is von Der Leyen's first official tour to India.