India and the EU should collaborate to help set up a full-fledged UN agency dedicated to tackling climate change, according to EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero Waldner.
On her first bilateral visit to India, Waldner said climate change and energy security are now top priorities of the EU foreign policy. "It is important to get India and China on board," she said, adding that she had visited China earlier this year to seek its cooperation on this front. India is currently the fifth largest consumer of energy in the world, and its energy consumption is likely to go up manifold as its economy continues to grow.
Waldner also emphasised that the EU supports regional cooperation in South Asia as a means of fostering peace and stability. She urged India and Pakistan not to allow the train blasts of Monday morning to derail the bilateral composition dialogue process. "We condemn every form of terrorism," she said, "but the reconciliation dialogue must go on."
Some 67 people — both Indians and Pakistanis — are learnt to have been killed in the blasts on the Samjhauta Express in the wee hours of Monday.
Waldner, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior ministers during her visit, announced a grant of Rs 2,700 crore as assistance to India to meet its Millennium Development Goals and to enhance bilateral cooperation in economic and social spheres under the Indo-EU Joint Action Plan. This amount will be provided over the period 2007-13.
The EU is India's largest trade partner (Euros 40.1 bn) and its biggest source of FDI (over Euros 1.1 bn). The two countries are currently negotiating a wide-ranging trade and investment agreement.