India values her multi-faceted partnership with EU: PM Modi

Oct 07, 2017, 00:58
India values her multi-faceted partnership with EU: PM Modi

The latest India-European Union (EU) summit of leaders has given fresh impetus to the long drawn out negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and increased hopes of concluding a deal, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday.

"As for Ukraine, the European Union is invariably united in supporting the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Ukraine".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a meeting with Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, and Jean Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission also underlined the importance of freedom of navigation, overflight and peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of worldwide law.

"We have also agreed to cooperate in security in the Indian Ocean region and beyond".

A Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between India and the European Union has been hanging fire for 11 years now despite 16 rounds of negotiations. Past year both sides had agreed to implement "EU-India Agenda for Action-2020" that laid down a road-map for India-EU Strategic Partnership.

The EU, as a bloc of 28 countries, is India's largest regional trading partner, with bilateral trade worth 88 billion dollars in 2016. "That would remain a case even after Britain's exit (March 2019)", he said. Besides, there are also differences over the EU's demands on elimination of India's duties on goods such as automobiles and wines and spirits. Leaders are expected to take stock of the implementation of this far-reaching agenda.

On his part, Tusk said that both India and the European Union have agreed to develop the political dimension of the relationship. The EU is already India's largest trading partner accounting for about 30 per cent of India's overall trade.

"They agreed that DPRK's (Democratic People's Republic of Korea oir North Korea) continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links pose a grave threat to global peace and security, and called for the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, which has been endorsed by the UNSC and the Six-Party Talks", the joint statement said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also met President of the European Council and European Commission President. It also remains the largest destination for Indian exports and a key source of investment and technologies.

Juncker also informed reporters that the chief negotiators from the two sides will sit together in the coming days to chart the way forward and that they should step up work to ensure the free flow of data.

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