New Delhi, Oct.9 (ANI): Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur on Friday urged participants attending the first track II level dialogue between the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) and the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) to make a concerted effort to increase their level of interdependence across a wide range of issues, including challenges like terrorism, and see what was the best way forward to enhancing bilateral and multilater cooperation.
Addressing the inagural session in the capital, Kaur said: "With the geopolitical centre progressively shifting, it is fairly clear that the EU-India relationship has steadily moved from commercial or economic one to that of strategic partnership though trade and investment continue to be the principal components."
Urging both the European Union and India to use coherence, shared values and practices - of democracy, pluralism, human rights, international conflict resolution or peacekeeping to their advantage, Kaur further said: "India and the EU are active players in a multi-polar world constantly shaped by the forces of globalization. Effective multilateralism requires understanding and respect for mutual concerns, needs or aspirations. It is only through this that any coordination and cooperation can develop. The dialogue between the EU and India would need to see how to enhance that mutual understanding."
She further described terrorism as one of the biggest challenges confronting the global community today.
"It threatens the very core of our civilized societies. India has been a victim of terrorism for over two decades. The EU has also witnessed horrific terrorist incidents in recent years caused by Al Qaeda terrorists. India and the EU would need to address, wherever possible, the menace of terrorism with coordination and cooperation. I am happy to learn that the EU Coordinator for Counter-terrorism is attending this forum and will be sharing his views on the subject," she said.
On Afghanistan, she referred to the two bomb attacks that had taken place on the Indian embassy in Kabul, and reiterated that as far as India is concerned, it believed that the cause of democracy and peace in Afghanistan can be best served through development programmes which the Afghan government and people need most urgently.
India, she said, is committed to assisting Afghanistan with a 1.2 billion dollar grant.
She said that the EU and India can also usefully cooperate on security issues, including in areas such as maritime and energy security.
A reference was made to India's recent contribution in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the help provided to keep the SLOCS (sea lanes of communication) in the Malacca Straits safe for navigation.
In the field of energy security, she said both India and the EU are major importers of fuel, and therefore, it is imperative for them to secure safe, affordable and sustainable energy supplies.
Climate Change and the WTO impasse were two major challenges before the world today, sahe said.
"On Climate Change, though both the EU and India have common interests and emphasize the central role of the global protocols there are clear differences in their approach. Global action is needed by all parties, according to their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities," she said.
As far as the WTO deadlock on the Doha round was concerned, Kaur called for a multilateral, rule-based universal trading regime, which she said is in the best interest of both, developed as well as developing countries.
In the pursuit of effective multilateralism, she said no objective is more important than strengthening the role of the U.N. "I wish to stress that greater interaction through civil society networks between the EU and India is essential and should be feasible. The two are democracies and enjoy freedom of expression, judiciary and pursuit of individual faith or religion. They are foremost examples of multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies. Human rights protection receives highest priority in both. Thus, societies based on common values and ideals should find greater resonance and synergy.
As the Joint Action Plan very aptly puts it: 'We see this partnership as a qualitative transformation in the way we engage as equal partners and work together with the world at large," she concluded. (ANI)