India, EU should take lead in avoiding global protectionist trends: PM

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Brussels, Dec. 10 (ANI): India and Europe should take the lead in avoiding protectionist trends, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, said during a joint media interaction with the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, here on Friday after the 11th India-EU Summit.

Dr. Singh said it would be beneficial for both India and European Union to keep their respective markets open and encourage 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," Singh said.

"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 combatting non-traditional threats to security such as piracy," he added.

Describing Europe as "a locomotive of the world's economy," the Indian Prime Minister said: "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," he added.

He said that both sides also exchanged views on the situation in India's neighbourhood and on developments in Europe.

"We were united in our view that the success of the international community's efforts in Afghanistan is 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," he added.

"Our partnership with the European Union is poised for further expansion, and we will work with the EU towards world peace, stability and prosperity," Dr. Singh said.

He said 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," he concluded. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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