India to deepen political, strategic cooperation at India-EU Summit: PM

New Delhi, Dec 9 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Thursday said that India would seek to deepen its political and strategic cooperation with the European Union, including in the area of counter terrorism and other non-traditional threats to security during the 11th India-European Union Summit to be held on Brussels on Friday and Saturday.

"India and European Union share common values of democracy, pluralism, tolerance, the rule of law, respect for fundamental human rights, freedom of the press and independence of the judiciary," Dr. Singh said in his departure statement on Thursday.

"There is a high degree of convergence of our views on global issues. I will seek to deepen our political and strategic cooperation, including in the area of counter terrorism and other non-traditional threats to security, he added.

"Our partnership with the European Union has evolved from economic and development cooperation to a broader strategic engagement," he said.

"This will be the first India-EU Summit since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union which recast its structures for strengthening the European Union's external relations. India welcomes the enhanced role that the European Union seeks to play in global affairs pursuant to this Treaty," he added.

Emphasising that the European Union is India's largest trading partner and a significant source of investment and technology, Dr. Singh said: "Negotiations on a Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement are underway, and we hope to review the progress of the negotiations during the Summit."

Dr. Singh will also have a bilateral meeting with his Belgian counterpart Yves Leterme in Brussels on Friday.

"Belgium is a key partner in Europe, and has been supportive of India on issues of importance to us. Our discussions will explore ways of diversifying our trade basket and promoting cooperation in high-technology sectors," he said.

"I will pay a working visit to Germany at the invitation of the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Our engagement with Germany is strong and multi-faceted," he said.

"I look forward to reviewing with Chancellor Merkel the developments in our bilateral cooperation in the areas of high technology, trade, investment, energy, education, vocational training, skills development and culture," he added.

He further said that Germany and India would serve together on the United Nations Security Council as non-permanent members during 2012-13.

"My discussions in both Belgium and Germany will also include a review of the major regional and global issues we face today. These include the situation in Afghanistan and climate change, as well as the state of the global economy and the role of the G-20 in the recovery process," he added. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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