India and the European Union (EU) can and should work together in the areas of counter-terrorism and security, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh has said.
“One area where we can and need to do more together, is in the area of counter terrorism and security,” Singh in a speech on “What next for EU-India relations?” said at the Horasis India Meeting in Cascais, Portugal, on Monday.
“The last India-EU summit was held in Brussels on March 30, barely a week after the horrific terror attacks in Brussels,” he said.
“It painfully underscored the need for greater support and synergy in combating the rising threat of terrorism.”
Horasis is an international think tank based in Zurich, Switzerland, and holds invitation-only meetings with global leaders with focus on China, India and the Middle East.
Singh said that India and the EU should cooperate not only at the bilateral level but also at the international level in the fight against terrorism.
“We believe that we need to cooperate more robustly not only at the bilateral and operational levels, but also in putting in place a much-needed counter-terrorism global policy framework at the United Nations, beginning with a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that does not distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists,” he said.
Stating that the India-EU relationship has grown considerably, he said today the EU has emerged as a key international partner for India.
“It is India’s largest trade partner and export destination with our total trade touching $126 billion. The EU is also the largest investor in India contributing about 26 per cent of India’s total FDI inflow,” Singh stated.
Stating that the EU has emerged as a leading partner in India’s transformative socio-economic agenda, he said: “The EU and its member states are actively collaborating with us in our ambitious flagship initiatives - whether it is building Smart Cities in India, creating a Digital India, Make in India, Skill India, Start Up India, Maritime India or the Clean Ganga initiative.”
Singh also stated that India’s young population could fulfill the human resource needs of the EU countries.
“One such exciting area for future collaboration based on our complementarity is in leveraging to mutual benefit, India’s profile as the future human resource powerhouse of the world,” he said.
Singh said India would benefit from a more friendly and smooth visa regime for such legitimate workers.
He said the EU, through its convening power, was uniquely placed to contribute and “add value” to India’s growth.
“The EU can provide a valuable forum to bring together the combined competencies and resources of its member states in each sector of its collaboration with India,” he said.