India, EU vow to fight terror, ink nuke deal


India and the EU on Wednesday resolved to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including its financing, and counter radicalisation as the two sides signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement and endorsed a roadmap to further strengthen their strategic partnership over the next five years.

At the 15th India-EU Summit held via video conferencing, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call to all democratic countries to come together to deal with new economic challenges in the post-Covid-19 world.

Briefing reporters on the summit, Vikas Swarup, Secretary (West) in the Ministry External Affairs, confirmed that the ongoing border tensions with China and that Pakistan’s continued support to terrorism against India figured during the summit.

The EU was represented by European Council president Charles Michel and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Asked if there was any discussion between the two sides on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BITA) which was being negotiated for over a decade, Swarup said both sides had committed themselves to take forward the negotiations expeditiously and arrive at a consensus.

In his address, Modi said he wanted the India-EU relationship to strengthen further and was working towards this.

“We must work on a long-term strategic perspective. We must also build an action-oriented agenda which can be implemented. India and the EU are natural partners. Our partnership is useful for peace in the world.”

Highlighting that both India and the EU share universal values like democracy, pluralism, inclusiveness, respect for international institutions, multilateralism, freedom and transparency, he made a strong pitch for even stronger relations between the two sides, particularly in the post-Covid-19 era. He lamented the fact that Europe had to bear the brunt of the pandemic.

Noting that India has sent medicines to nearly 150 countries, he stressed that the country’s pharma companies could contribute to the global attempt to deal with the pandemic.

The agreement on civil nuclear cooperation between the European Atomic Energy Community and the Indian authorities will focus on collaboration between EU research programmes on new ways of using nuclear energy and similar activities on the Indian side, officials said.

THE STATESMAN (INDIA)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK