Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
10-December-2010 18:28 IST
PM's Opening Statement at Joint Press Interaction
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh addressed the Press in Brussels today. Following is the text of Prime Minister’s opening remarks:

“I am delighted to be here in Brussels to attend the eleventh Summit between India and the European Union, and the first Summit since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

I would like to thank the leadership of the European Union for the gracious hospitality extended to me and members of my delegation.

India greatly values its relations with the European Union. We see it as a key strategic partner in meeting India’s development needs. We welcome the enhanced role of the European Union on the world stage consequent to the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. A strong and prosperous Europe, with whom India shares common values of democracy, pluralism and respect for human rights, is essential for stability and balance in the international order.

Over the years, the partnership between India and the European Union has matured tremendously. Today, it covers the entire gamut of areas ranging from the political and security to education and science. Its significance transcends the purely bilateral.

We have had extremely productive and useful discussions today. These are reflected in the Joint Statement that has been issued. We have also issued a Joint Declaration on Culture and another on International Terrorism. We reviewed the progress that has been made in the implementation of the Joint Action Plan, which is the template of our cooperation. Agreements on cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and maritime transport are under negotiation.

Our two sides have done commendable work in negotiations of an India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement. We are at the last stages of this complex exercise. We have directed our officials to redouble their efforts to reach a conclusion by the spring of 2011. Finalisation of a balanced Agreement will bring enormous benefits to both sides.

India and Europe should take the lead in avoiding protectionist trends, keeping our markets open and encouraging the free flow and movement of people.

I conveyed to the European leadership the vast opportunities that exist for European investment in India in the areas of infrastructure, high technology, research and development, clean energy and innovation. We are particularly keen to benefit from Europe’s experience in the area of skill development, vocational training and small and medium enterprises.

We discussed opportunities for greater cooperation in the political and security spheres. We have agreed to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation. There is, in addition, scope for working together in combating non-traditional threats to security such as piracy.

Europe has been a locomotive of the world’s economy. India, like the rest of the world, has a vital stake in Europe’s return to robust growth, innovation and the pre-crisis levels of high employment. As a member of the Group of 20, India will consult closely with the European Union and individual member States to ensure a balanced and sustained global economic recovery process.

We exchanged views on the situation in India's neighbourhood and developments in Europe. We were united in our view that the success of the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan was critical for the people of Afghanistan as well as for the stability and security of India and Europe.

We also exchanged views on other global issues like sustainable development, climate change, reform of institutions of global governance including the United Nations Security Council and disarmament and non-proliferation.

I am fully satisfied with my talks today. They give me confidence that we are on the right track. Our partnership with the European Union is poised for further expansion, and we will work with the EU towards world peace, stability and prosperity”.