India and the European Union (EU) have decided to resume talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) with a focus on strengthening two-way trade and investment, as well as agreeing to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. At the end of delegation-level talks, both sides also inked three agreements including: European Commission and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB); finance contract of Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase-2-Line R6 for 300 million euros, of the total European Investment Bank (EIB) loan; and a joint declaration between the interim secretariat of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the EIB.
In a joint address to the media along with European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker after delegation-level talks at the 14th India-EU summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “We agreed on fighting against terrorism together and increasing cooperation towards it. Both sides agreed to cooperate on global issues and work together on climate change.”
Tusk and Juncker were part of the high-level EU delegation. “Our multi-dimensional relations and strategic partnership are of prime importance,” he said, adding that relations between the two sides had been reinforced following the 13th India-EU Summit at Brussels last year.
While expressing happiness that the European Investment Bank would help member countries of the India-initiated ISA to implement solar energy projects, he stated that the EU continues to be India’s largest trading partner, as the 28-nation bloc was also one of the largest investors in India.
With Juncker calling India a like-minded partner, Tusk said India and the EU were two of the world’s largest democracies and both sides had agreed to develop the political dimension of the relationship.
“We adopted a joint declaration on counter-terrorism to deal effectively with the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, terror financing and arms supply arms supply,” Tusk said. “We agreed to cooperate in security in the Indian Ocean region and beyond.”
Tusk stressed that a free trade agreement between India and the EU was of importance, and Juncker pointed out that the EU was India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 13% of India’s overall trade. Stating that it was time for a free trade agreement, he said talks on this would resume once conditions were met.
With regard to infrastructural support, the European Investment Bank will provide 500 million euros to support the construction of a new, 18-station rapid transit line for the Bangalore Metro.