Overview of Vice President’s 5-day Visit to Belgium to attend 12th ASEM Summit

On October 17, 2018, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu commenced his visit to Belgium to attend the two-day 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels, Belgium.
The Vice President returned to India on October 21, 2018.

Highlights:

  • This will be the first multi-lateral summit the Vice President will be attending after taking office in August 2017.
  • The Vice President also participated in the Plenary Session and will called on His Majesty, the King of the Belgians for bilateral meetings.
  • On the sidelines of the meeting, VP Naidu held bilateral meetings with the Heads of State / Government from other countries.
  • He addressed the Indian Diaspora at the Jain Culture Centre in Wilrijk, Antwerp.
  • He exchanged views on further enhancing India-Belgium trade and investment ties with select group of prominent CEOs.
  • He paid respects and offered floral tribute at a sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi located in the Governorate at Antwerp.

The two-day 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM):
On October 18-19, 2018, the 2-day long 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit was held in Brussels, Belgium.

12th ASEM Summiti. Indian delegation was led by Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu.
ii. The theme of this years’ ASEM Summit is “Global Partners for Global Challenges”.
iii. It was hosted by the European Union was chaired by the President of the European Council Donald TUSK. 
iv. As many as 51 Heads of States/ Heads of Government participated in the event.
v. The 12th ASEM Agenda for 2018 prioritized issues like:
Connectivity, trade and investment, sustainable development, climate change terrorism, migration, maritime security and cyberspace.
vi. Speaking at the 1st Plenary Session of the Summit, he highlighted the following:

  • Calling on to the International Community for actions against terrorism, including cross-border terrorism, that threatens peace and stability,
  • Stressed on an early adoption of the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
  • Urged the ASEM partners to work together for denying shelter and for expeditious and timely exchange of financial information,
  • Highlighted the role of International Solar Alliance as an example of Asia-Europe cooperation,
  • Outlined Government of India’s measure for more inclusive development, including focus on women empowerment.

Other News:

  • At the ASEM cultural festival, India’s rich heritage in the performing arts will be showcased in a Kathakali presentation of the Spanish masterpiece, ‘Don Quixote’ in collaboration with the Spanish Cultural Institute, Cervantes.
  • It will be held from October 18- 30, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

Background:

  • The bi-annual event is considered the highest platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe in the areas of trade, investment, security and tourism.
  • The ASEM grouping comprises of 51 member-countries and 2 regional organizations – European Union and ASEAN.

Meeting with Belgian King:
On October 18, 2018, Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu called on His Majesty King Philippe of the Belgians at the Royal City Palace.
i. They discussed about the following:

  • ASEM meeting,
  • Efforts to counter terrorism,
  • Belgium’s support to India’s candidacies at the UN and at the UNSC for the term 2021-22.
  • To boost investment, trade and people to people ties.

ii. His Majesty, King Philippe had hosted the ASEM Summit in 2010 when Belgium had held the rotating Presidency of the European Union.

Meetings with other delegates:

Bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Greece:
On October 18, 2018, Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, held bilateral meeting with Mr. Alexis Tsipras, the Prime Minister of Greece at the EU headquarters building in Brussels.

Overview of Vice President’s 5-day Visit to Belgium to attend 12th ASEM Summiti. In the meeting they also discussed the following:

  • Strengthening the bilateral ties through greater economic and people to people exchanges,
  • Tourism flows between the two countries,
  • India’s candidature for a permanent seat in a reformed and expanded UN Security Council.

ii. The PM of Greece encouraged Indian companies to consider investing in Greece, particularly in the port sector.
iii. He also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Greece at an opportune time.
iv. Prime Minister Tsipras invited India as the “Honored Country” at the Thessaloniki International Fair in 2019.
v. They both acknowledged the work of Greek scholar Demetrios Galanos who had translated, among other texts, the Bhagvad Gita into Greek.

Greece:
♦ Capital: Athens.
♦ Currency: Euro.

Bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Portugal:
On October 18, 2018, Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, held bilateral meeting with Mr. Antonio Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal at the EU headquarters building.
i. They discussed on:

  • Collaboration in new areas of cutting-edge technology,
  • Potential areas of investments such as defence, space, infrastructure and startups,
  • India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

ii. VP acknowledged the collaboration of Portugal companies with Indian companies for development, such as:

  • MOU of Vision-Box, a Portuguese technology company with Bengaluru International Airport to facilitate seamless and paperless air travel using facial recognition biometric technologies. 
  • MoU between Portugal and Goa for a pilot project for water supply and waste water management as part of the Panaji Smart City initiative.

iii. Portugal joined as a member of the Committee set up to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi worldwide.

Background:
Earlier in January 2017 PM Costa had been honored with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award on his state visit to India.

Portugal:
♦ Capital: Lisbon.
♦ Currency: Euro.

Bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Spain:
On October 18, 2018, Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, held bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez at Europa Building in Brussels.
i. They exchanged views on matters of common interest.
Spain:

  • Capital: Madrid.
  • Currency: Euro.

Addressing the Indian Community:
On October 20, 2018, Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, visited Jain Temple Complex in the City of Antwerp and met members of Indian Community.
Belgium:
♦ Capital: City of Brussels.
♦ Currency: Euro.