India, EU agree to boost security cooperation

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) India and the European Union on Friday agreed to strengthen security cooperation during a meeting here between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

"Prime Minister Modi and Mogherini discussed regional and global developments of mutual interest," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

"The Prime Minister and Mogherini agreed on the need to strengthen the security cooperation between India and EU, particularly on the issue of counter-terrorism," it said

Modi recalled his visit to Brussels in March 2016 for the 13th India-EU Summit, and said that he was looking forward to the next India-EU Summit to be held in India in October 2017.

Earlier in the day, Mogherini, who is on an official visit to India, also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar.

According to a statement by the External Affairs Ministry, they reaffirmed their commitment to deepening their Strategic Partnership and reviewed progress on the commitments made during the Brussels summit, including in the areas of counter-terrorism, migration and mobility, water partnership, clean energy and climate change action.

Sushma Swaraj also condemned Thursday night's terror attack in Paris that claimed the life of a police officer. Emphasising that terrorism was the gravest threat to humanity today, she called for both to strengthen their cooperation to fight it.

The statement also said that EU is one of India's largest trading partners with bilateral trade in goods reaching $85 billion in 2016, as well as the largest destination for Indian exports and a key source of investment and cutting edge technologies.

"India seeks enhanced level of investments from EU companies in its flagship programmes like Clean India, Namami Gange, Skill India, Start-Up India, Smart Cities, renewable energy and next-generation infrastructure."

According to the statement, both sides also discussed ways to take forward the India-EU broad-based trade and investment agreement.

According to statement by the Delegation of the European Union here, during the course of Friday's meetings, the two sides discussed in depth a broad range of issues of common interest.

It said that the EU and India "are natural partners, they share fundamental values of democracy and diversity, economic interests and robust trade relations, common security challenges, a direct interest in the stabilisation of many fragile areas, from the Korean Peninsula to Afghanistan".

"The EU and India expressed their common interest and commitment to strengthen their cooperation on the world stage, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora, on common priorities such as multilateralism, climate change, sustainable development, free and fair trade, security and defence - notably on maritime security - and counter-terrorism," it said.

The two sides also agreed to take stock of progress made on decisions taken at last year's summit in Brussels, to deepen cooperation in foreign policy, security and defence, trade, investments, climate change, water, new and renewable energy, environment, ICT, space, research and technology, urbanisation, and to strengthen people-to-people contacts, including student exchanges.

During her visit, Mogherini opened the EU@60 Treaty of Rome Exhibition at the Italian Institute of Culture. This year, the EU celebrates the 60th anniversary of the treaty, which paved the way for the bloc's formation.