Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday said European Union leaders including Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India's excellent progress on COVID-19 vaccination.
"EU leaders, as well as the Italian PM, congratulated PM Modi for India's excellent progress on vaccination both in terms of the number of vaccines administered in our country and also in terms of percentage of people covered in the first dose," Mr Shringla said during the special briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Italy.
Highlighting that the EU is one of India's very important partners, Mr Shringla said that in today's meetings, the leaders reviewed India-EU cooperation covering political and security relations, trade and investment relations, as well as roadmap 2025 adopted for the India EU summit.
They also discussed developments around climate change, COVID-19 pandemic and contemporary global and regional developments of interest, he said, adding that Prime Minister highlighted India's perspectives on climate change, Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific.
Mr Shringla mentioned that during the visit, PM Modi paid floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's bust at Piazza Gandhi. This was in the presence of a large number of members of the Indian community who came there to greet the Prime Minister there. And it was all with great enthusiasm.
He further stated that PM Modi also met different cultural groups including members of the Sikh community. The PM paid respect to the Indian soldiers who fought valiantly in Italy during World War II.
Moreover, PM Modi also met his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi at Palazzo Chigi in Rome. This was their first in-person meeting. The Prime Minister has spoken on a number of occasions with Prime Minister Draghi including recently on August 27 when they discussed the issue of Afghanistan, the Foreign Secretary said.
Regarding bilateral cooperation in renewable and clean energy, Mr Shringla said that India and Italy issued a joint statement announcing a strategic partnership on energy transition, and agreed to explore partnerships in areas such as large size green corridor projects, smart grids, energy storage solutions, gas transportation, integrated waste management, deployment of green hydrogen and promotion of biofuels.
He added that India and Italy also signed an agreement of intent on textiles cooperation during the meeting.
Talking about the issue of vaccination certification, he said that "Issue of vaccination certificate was discussed especially with EU representatives. There was a conversation on mutual recognition of vaccines...a doable mechanism to facilitate easier international travel... Details to be worked out bilaterally."
"Fact of the matter is that the point PM tried to make (on vaccine certification) has been received. Most countries are quite happy with the idea of facilitating smoother international travel...and feel that we need to collectively work on it," he stated.
"A few EU countries have already responded to our proposal. We have proposed mutual recognition of vaccine certification even at the G20... Discussions are still on...," Mr Shringla added.
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