European Union, India strengthen ties; Vow to jointly fight terror
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini arrived in India on a two-day visit.
She held separate meetings with PM Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to discuss key issues focusing on further boosting the ties.
EU, India agree to boost cooperation
Terrorism, the gravest threat to humanity: Sushma Swaraj
In her meeting with Federica Mogherini, Sushma Swaraj condemned the recent Paris terror attack.
She also emphasized they need to step up cooperation to fight terrorism in all forms and manifestations and have zero-tolerance for terror acts.
According to the European Union's statement, both EU and India have resolved to enhance cooperation in combating terrorism at bilateral and multilateral levels.
India greatly values its multi-faceted strategic partnership with EU: MEA
India's Ministry of External Affairs stated: "EU is one of India's largest trading partners with bilateral trade in goods reaching $85 billion in 2016. EU is also the largest destination for Indian exports and a key source of investment and cutting-edge technologies."
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Preparations for the annual EU-India Summit
EU and India agreed to work closely in dealing with climate change, multilateralism, sustainable development and ensuring free and fair trade.
Mogherini held talks with External Affairs Minister (State) MJ Akbar to push for early resumption of talks for long-pending India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
Preparations for the annual EU-India Summit to be held in India later in 2017 were also reviewed.
Progress made on commitments made last year
The EU stated both the sides took stock of progress made on commitments made at the 13th EU-India Summit in Mar'16 and decided to strengthen people-to-people contacts, including student exchanges through the Erasmus program.
They have a direct interest in stabilizing several fragile areas like Afghanistan and the Korean Peninsula and deepening cooperation in security and defense, investment, water, ICT, space and technology.
India's flagship programs
The MEA stated: "India seeks enhanced level of investments from EU companies in its flagship programs like Clean India, Namami Gange, Skill India, Start-Up India, Smart Cities, renewable energy and next-generation infrastructure."
BTIA has been a major issue in EU-India ties
Launched in 2007, negotiations for BTIA witnessed several hurdles as both sides have major differences on crucial issues; BTIA talks have been stalled since May 2013.
Issues related to tariff and professionals' movement are yet to be resolved but the EU is inclined to restart the talks.
The EU demands duty cuts in automobiles and tax reduction in wines, spirits, and dairy products.
India asks for 'data secure nation' status
India is asking EU to grant it 'data secure nation' status. India's investment pacts with several European nations are expiring and citing this, EU is pushing for BTIA. EU stated pacts' expiry will make it difficult for European countries to make fresh investments in India.
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