In July 2019, Luxembourg will be the first non-Asian country to host the 4th Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) annual meeting, with some 500 delegates and up to 1,500 additional participants expected for the event on Kirchberg.
Minister of finance Pierre Gramegna (DP) sees this as a perfect occasion to foster relations between India and Luxembourg. During the 10th anniversary of the Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg (IBCL) on 22 March, held at the Chamber of Commerce, Gramegna said, “If we look at the bilateral relations between China and India, we probably miss out on the bigger picture, and the occasion of the AIIB meeting will be the right opportunity to put our bilateral relationship in a European context.”
The minister, who had attended the 3rd AIIB annual meeting in Mumbai, reminded participants that AIIB is a Chinese initiative, but not a Chinese bank. It aims to foster investment along the new Silk Road, for example in infrastructure and connectivity, and will impact China’s western neighbours--not only in central Asia and the middle east, but all the way to Europe.
“I think Luxembourg can play an important role in this,” Gramegna said, adding: “Through the EIB, we have an important player that’s a partner of the AIIB, and we want to make sure that at the end of the Silk Road, we in Luxembourg, and Europe, can play a decisive role.”
The EU represents 13% of global trade with India, a bigger client for India than even China.
The minister added that he sees India as a partner when it comes to multilateralism, which he said was “becoming less fashionable, at least seen from certain partners around the world.” He added the developing trade should thus be based on a multilateral framework.
In November 2018, the EU released its strategy on India (PDF), which echoes the minister’s comments. “A strong partnership with India is desirable to jointly contribute to preserve peace and stability, promote prosperity and sustainable development, and strengthen the rules-based order,” the report reads. “Intensified political dialogue and regular exchanges of views ahead of major international gatherings should be sought to build a stronger common understanding, contributing to reducing divergences and enhancing common action.”
The Ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU, Gaitri Issar Kumar, said India was actively working with the EU to preserve the principles and core of the WTO, areas which she said were “in crisis at the moment”.
She added, “We are very happy whenever Luxembourg is searching for new avenues to generate economic advantages precisely in areas where India has the opportunities and the willingness to work with you.” India, she added, is prioritising emerging areas such as smart cities, cybersecurity and biotech, plus she hopes for more collaboration with India startups.