As she embarks on a two-day visit to India, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday said both India and the 27-nation EU want to take the relationship to the next level.
Leyen begins her visit to India on Sunday during which she will hold extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on further ramping up two-way engagement in areas of trade, connectivity, energy, climate change and security.
Russia's war against Ukraine as well as India-EU cooperation in the Indo-Pacific are also expected to figure in the discussions.
"I'm off to New Delhi as we celebrate 60 years of EU-India relations. 60 years during which we built a solid friendship. And a cooperation that we now both want to take to the next level. Looking forward to my discussions with @narendramodi," Leyen tweeted.
The European Commission president said taking the partnership forward means negotiating the ambitious trade and investment agreements, connecting the world with the global gateway, driving the digital revolution, fighting climate change and achieving a just energy transition.
It will be von der Leyen's first visit to India as president of the European Commission. Her visit comes two days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's trip to India. Ahead of Leyen's visit, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday held talks with Bjoern Seibert, the head of cabinet of the President of the European Commission.
"Glad to meet Bjoern Seibert, Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Commission @vonderleyen," Jaishankar tweeted. The EU is one of the largest investors in India accounting for 16 per cent of total investments received between 2015-20 (Euro 83 billion in 2000-2021). According to the EU, there are 4,500 European companies operating in India, contributing to the creation of over 1.5 million direct and 5 million indirect jobs in the country.
During her trip, von der Leyen will visit The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) campus known as TERI Gram, where she will interact with the youth on the existential challenge of climate change and the need to work together for a green, digital and resilient future.
She will also deliver an address at the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and discuss with Indian and EU companies the security of supply chains in the energy sector.
(With PTI inputs)