PM Modi's Brussels Visit Cancelled, India-EU Summit Deferred Amid Virus Scare

In February, External Affairs minister S Jaishankar had visited Brussels to lay the groundwork for the visit.

Belgian capital Brussels was expected to host the next India-European Union Summit

Highlights

  • Brussels was hosting India-European Union Summit
  • "Summit will be rescheduled": Foreign ministry spokesperson
  • India currently have 30 confirmed coronavirus cases
New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has postponed his visit to Belgium in view of the worldwide outbreak of Coronavirus, which has killed more than 3000 people and affected more than 90,000 people since surfacing in China's Wuhan city in December. Belgian capital Brussels was expected to host the India-European Union Summit – an annual event aimed at expanding the strategic partnership.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the health authorities of both countries suggested that travelling must not take place at present. “So, it has been decided that Summit will be rescheduled on a mutually convenient date,” he added.

PM Modi has already decided not to participate in any celebratory events for Holi this year in view of the outbreak.

"Experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Hence, this year, I have decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme," he tweeted yesterday.

So far 30 cases of Coronavirus has been detected in the country. The figures took a leap after a group of 15 Italian tourists tested positive for the disease. Another case was confirmed today.

In Europe, Italy has proved the biggest hub of the disease so far. Several Indians who tested positive for the virus had contracted it while visiting Italy as tourists.

Reports from Belgium say 23 cases were detected in the country till yesterday.

The India-European Union summit – much anticipated since the last year – was to be held under the shadow of the protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the government's big move in Jammu and Kashmir, ending its special status and bifurcating it into two Union Territories.

Last month a group of diplomats from the European Union visited Jammu and Kashmir to survey the ground situation. 

In February, External Affairs minister S Jaishankar had visited Brussels to lay the groundwork for the visit.