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PM to visit Helsinki for India-EU Summit in Oct

Written by: Staff

Helsinki, Jul 4: India and the European Union (EU) will strive to impart a new dimension to their strategic partnership besides considering ways to step up trade and economic cooperation during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the Finnish capital for the seventh India-EU Summit to be held on October 13.

According to senior Indian and Finnish officials, the Prime Minister, accompanied by a high-level delegation including Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, will be in Helsinki for three days.

He will deliver the key-note address to the India-EU Business Summit on October 12, a day before the seventh summit between the two sides. Finland Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, who took over the EU Presidency on July 1, will co-chair the summit with the Indian Prime Minister.

The officials said talks were on between India and Finland for a bilateral segment of Dr Singh's visit to Helsinki on October 14.

Meanwhile, talking to a group of visiting Indian journalists, the Finnish Prime Minister said the EU has not taken a position on whether it would support Mr Shashi Tharoor, India's candidate for the Secretary Generalship of the United Nations. ''The EU has to coordinate its position...I don't know the details. However, in the normal rotation system, it would be the turn of Asian countries to have their nominee as the Secretary General. The candidate ought to be very good,'' he added.

Mr Vanhanen declined to make any comment on the Indo-US deal for civilian nuclear energy cooperation, saying the EU was yet to take a common position on the issue.

Asked about the EU's agenda for India during his Presidency, he said.

Referring to the threat posed by terrorism to the global community, Mr Vanhanen said the EU would redouble its efforts to fight the menace and prevent the radicalisation of terrorism and recruitment. ''Better exchange of information between law enforcement and judicial authorities is crucial in the fight against organised crime and terrorism. To that end, the principle of availability will be applied, according to which law enforcement authorities provide information to their counterparts in other member states on the same basis as they provide it to authorities in their own country,'' he added.

Mr Vanhanen said the aim with regard to EU's external relations was to strengthen its international role and reinforce the consistency of its actions. Particular emphasis would be placed on relations with Russia and, in connection with them, the Northern Dimension. The goal was for Russia to commit itself to increasingly close cooperation with the EU. Other priorities in external relations included Transatlantic relations and Asia.


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