EU summit may apprise India of China perspective

New Delhi, Aug 22 | Updated: Aug 23 2005, 05:30am hrs
The sixth India-EU summit in September is expected to offer an added advantage to New Delhi in getting a perspective from the EU delegation about Chinas thoughts on various issues concerning India.

The delegation led by British Prime Minister Tony Blair will reach New Delhi just two days after holding a similar summit with China in Beijing. The New Delhi summit, to be held on September 7, will be followed by the India-United Kingdom (UK) bilateral talks.

A business convention on Building strategic business partnership is scheduled to take place just a day before the summit. Top executives from both India and Europe will participate to discuss business relations with special focus on key sectors like infrastructure, financial services, manufacturing and services.

According to officials in the ministry of external affairs (MEA), since the summit is being held for the first time after the signing of the Strategic Partnership in 2004 between India and the EU, it is likely to assess the progress made during the first year.

Mr Blairs presidency of the EU at the summit assumes significance, especially after his statement on July 1 that China and India will be worlds largest economies in a few decades. Hence, under his presidency India is hopeful of a more vibrant partnership with the EU, particularly in areas like trade, investment, infrastructure development, biotechnology, IT and space apart from expecting sincere cooperation on Indias UN vision, officials have pointed out.

This meet would also identify problems hindering growth in the bilateral trade, they pointed out.

The EU is the largest trade partner of India, accounting for one-fourth of its exports. Yet, Indias rank stands at 14 on the list of all trading partners of the EU.

Officials of the two sides are, at present, busy giving shape to a concrete action plan on the EU-India Strategic Partnership initiated at the last summit in The Hague (Netherlands) in November 2004.

Both the action plan and the joint political declaration are intended to produce non-binding guidelines for further deepening of EU-India relations.

Though the country gets the largest chunk of its direct foreign investment from the European Union, the task of realising the potential of enlarged markets of both India and the EU is far from over.