Piracy and terrorism topped the agenda of the European Union’s chief diplomat, Catherine Ashton, on her four day visit to India.
Ashton said the EU has proposed that India consider working closer with the 10-nation Atalanta flotilla or the NATO fleet fighting pirates off Somalia.
“These have rotating command structures at different levels,” she said and said India could consider being part of such a system.
The EU and India also discussed the “roots of piracy,” which as Ashton pointed out, were “on land, not on the seas.”
Ashton, who is making her first visit to India as the EU high representative for foreign and security policy, said she had also invited Indian involvement in the EU’s counterterrorism “fusion centers.” These fora, similar to the US’s National Counterterrorism Centre, would be virtual sites where experts could share knowledge. India and the EU, “in some cases,” share similar issues regarding terrorism.
Ashton skirted controversy on this trip, declining to raise Myanmar in her meetings and saying India’s role in Afghanistan was positive and “up to India to decide.” She said the EU’s drawn out translation and legal evaluation would mean the proposed free trade agreement would not be ready in time for the next Indo-EU summit.
Progress needed to be made on immigration: a Joint Action Group on the issue had not met for four years. She also said the EU supported a central International Atomic Energy Agency role in monitoring any reactors China might sell to Pakistan. However, Brussels has no say in the Nuclear Suppliers Group as it is not a member.