India and the European Union have agreed to coordinate their policies in the strategic semiconductor sector with an aim to conclude an agreement by September in the first ministerial meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in Brussels.

A day after the high-level meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said there was an exchange of views on issues of significance like economic security and promoting connectivity projects in third geographies, including agreeing to identify projects for joint implementation.

In another significant decision, India and the EU also agreed to enhance cooperation on IT and telecoms standardisation, with a particular focus on promoting interoperable standards. Both sides had in-depth discussions on a range of issues including semiconductors, high-performance computing, digital public infrastructures, clean energy technologies and supply chain resilience, it said.

The meeting was co-chaired on the Indian side by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Communications and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. It was co-chaired on the European side by executive vice presidents Valdis Dombrovskis and Margrethe Vestager. “The two sides will coordinate their policies with regards to the strategic semiconductor sector, with the aim of concluding a Memorandum of Understanding by September 2023,” an India-EU joint statement said.

“Furthermore, India and the European Union will work towards bridging the digital skills gap, explore mutual recognition of certifications and make progress on the promotion of skilled professionals and exchange of talent,” it said. “Both sides also agreed to enhance cooperation on IT and telecoms standardisation with a particular focus on promoting interoperable standards,” the statement said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen had agreed to set up the TTC to facilitate the exchange of critical technologies relating to an array of domains including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, semiconductors and cybersecurity.

The joint statement said both sides recognise the importance of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) for the development of open and inclusive digital economies and digital societies and realise that the DPI approach leverages technology, markets and governance. “To that end, India and the European Union have agreed to collaborate on enhancing the interoperability of their respective digital public infrastructures and, on this basis, jointly promote secure, privacy-preserving solutions to the benefit of developing countries,” it said.

In addition, “there is an opportunity for both sides to work together on areas such as platforms, data governance and telecoms regulation,” it added. India and the European Union have set ambitious goals of achieving net zero emissions by 2070 and 2050 respectively. They have also made commitments to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to promote a circular economy. Achieving these targets and objectives will require significant investments in new clean technologies as well as increased research and innovation efforts, the joint statement said.

To this end, the working group on green and clean energy technologies will focus on relevant aspects of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, batteries for electrical vehicles and standards, it said. Jaishankar, Goyal and Vaishnaw also jointly met Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium. “The meeting saw extensive discussions on various issues, including India’s ongoing Presidency of G20, the upcoming Belgium Presidency of the Council of European Union, progress in the India-EU FTA negotiations and other regional and global issues of bilateral interest,” the MEA said.

The three ministers also jointly met President of the European Commission von der Leyen and had comprehensive discussions on India–EU bilateral issues covering trade, economy, security, and strategic issues. “They agreed to make the TTC a platform to guide the relationship to face new geopolitical challenges and de-risk the global economy. They discussed the need to work together for the successful conclusion of India’s G-20 Presidency,” the MEA said.