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EU and India to work together for a stronger digital cooperation and to tackle the pandemic

India and EU leaders have agreed to build a sustainable and comprehensive Connectivity Partnership, as well as cooperate on supercomputers to bring solutions to challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, during the 16th EU-India Summit held on the 8th of May.

photo of the flags of India and the European Union

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Focusing on digital, energy and transport, as well as research and innovation, both sides affirmed their commitment to jointly implement connectivity that conforms with international standards and is based on mutually agreed principles of sustainability. The Connectivity Partnership will support the twin green and digital transitions, sustainable and inclusive economic recovery and growth, quality jobs and resilient economies.

Additionally, in light of the ongoing health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU has offered to facilitate access to the unique supercomputing Exscalate4Covid platform for drug discovery. This cooperation on High-Performance Computing (HPC) would also be extended to climate purposes.

Digital connectivity

The aim of the EU-India Connectivity Partnership is to deliver, through cooperation, mutual benefits on connectivity in various sectoral areas – primarily in digital connectivity, but also transport and energy networks, as well as the flow of goods, services and data.

Concretely, it proposes to strengthen this collaboration by:

  • Promoting the fast and effective roll-out of 5G in line with global standards, while developing a joint vision beyond 5G technologies;
  • Holding a new Digital Investment forum to bring together industry leaders in view of strengthening and promoting digital cooperation
  • Making sure regulation on both sides aligns well in order to ensure the protection of personal data and privacy, and facilitate safe and secure cross border data flows
  • Developing common satellite-based emergency warning services
  • Enhance overall cooperation in digital connectivity, for example via submarine cables and satellite networks, as well as promoting a free and secure cyberspace.


Supercomputer cooperation for public health and climate

In light of the pandemic crisis, the EU has also offered cooperation to India on the use of HPC for developing COVID-19 therapeutics, namely to:

  • Cooperate with Indian researchers on HPC applications, in particular those related to using HPC for discovering new drugs, including those against COVID-19, or for dealing with mutations of the virus. As part of this cooperation, the EU can facilitate access to the unique supercomputing Exscalate4Covid platform for drug discovery.
  • Cooperate on clinical trials: India could launch clinical trials on Raloxifene, the molecule discovered by Exscalate4Covid, complementing those taking place in Europe for COVID-19 therapeutics purposes
  • Cooperate in a new clinical trial of Raloxifene in combination with COVID-19 vaccines to increase immunity
  • Be associated in future clinical trials on molecules discovered by Exscalate4Covid.


Additionally, the EU has offered India the opportunity to participate in extreme weather modelling (e.g. tracking the trajectory of typhoons) in collaboration with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) that could help save thousands of human lives.

Background

The implementation of the EU-India Connectivity Partnership will be aligned with that of the EU-India 2025 Roadmap agreed during last year’s Summit, guiding joint action and further strengthening the collaboration between the two sides.

Exscalate4CoV is an EU project researching a treatment for COVID 19 patients by using a unique combination of high performance computing power and Artificial Intelligence with biological processing. It includes three supercomputing centres, large research centres, pharmaceutical companies and biological institutes from across Europe.

ECMWF is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States. The Centre has one of the largest supercomputer facilities and meteorological data archives in the world.