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2nd India-Luxembourg Foreign Office Consultations

On 9 April 2024, India and Luxembourg held their second round of Foreign Office Consultations (FoC) in the Indian capital, New Delhi. The meeting co-chairs were Mr. Jean Olinger, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Defence, Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Luxembourg and Shri Pavan Kapoor, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The consultations resulted from the November 2020 bilateral summit between the Prime Ministers of Luxembourg and India.

Areas of Bilateral Cooperation

According to Shri Randhir Jaiswal, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, India, “2nd India-Luxembourg FOC held in New Delhi today. Co-chaired by Secy (West) @AmbKapoor and Secy General Jean Olinger of @MFA_Lu. They reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral cooperation, and regional and global issues of mutual interest.” The dignitaries discussed ways to deepen bilateral cooperation in finance, steel, ICT, innovation, space, start-ups, manufacturing, health, sustainable development, automotive, renewable energy, and climate change. Expanding economic links was also a crucial part of the FoC agenda.

Collaboration in Finance

India and Luxembourg expressed their mutual satisfaction with the growing financial collaboration between the two countries. Both sides welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA). Regarding bolstering bilateral relations in the financial sector, both sides also welcomed the commencement of discussion on building the India-Luxembourg Financial Corridor.

Luxembourg established its B-Medical Systems in Mundra, Gujarat, India in 2021. This manufacturing unit is B-Medical’s first to be set up outside Luxembourg. Both sides noted the successful commencement of the unit’s operations in 2022. They also encouraged the establishment of more R&D divisions of B-Medical Systems in India.

Regional and Global Issues

Luxembourg and India discussed several multinational and regional concerns of mutual interest. Both countries appreciated the growing relations between India and the European Union (EU). They noted that India-EU relations have developed from addressing areas of traditional cooperation to those of emerging technologies, digital and green transitions, and economic security. Both sides further urged a balanced, comprehensive, and mutually beneficial conclusion to the Foreign Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the EU.

Cultural Cooperation and Mobility

Both India and Luxembourg believe that significant cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchange would pave the way for deeper bilateral relations between the two countries. Hence, a swift conclusion to an India-Benelux Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement becomes necessary. This agreement would facilitate people-to-people contact and mobility of students, researchers, academics, and skilled professionals between India and the economic union of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands (together known as Benelux).

The FoC occurred after the 18th meeting between the BLEU (Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union) and the Joint Economic Commission of India. The co-chairs of the conference were the Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Defence, Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Luxembourg, President of the Board of the Belgian Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and Commerce Secretary, Government of India. The next round of the India-Luxembourg FoC will occur in Luxembourg on a mutually agreed-upon date.