Rolling out the prospect of “an ambitious political and security agenda”, the European Union (EU) has reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inviting him for an India-EU summit in Brussels in November.
In a letter dated May 11, 2015, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council president Donald Tusk described India-EU ties as a “key partnership” with one of the “largest democracies and biggest economies of the world.”
The summit, the letter said, could take place either before or after the G-20 summit in Antalya in Turkey scheduled for November 14-15, which Modi will be attending.
The EU as a bloc of 28 countries is India’s largest regional trading partner. Though the summit was initially planned around the time the PM visited Europe and Canada in April, a mutually convenient date was not found as PM Modi visited France first, Germany next and Canada last instead of ending with France as initially planned. Thus, a window to hold the summit was not available, officials said.
A controversy was also sought to be raised at the time around issues regarding the Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen, scotching any hopes of holding the summit in April.
The letter also talked about the EU’s intent to step up economic and political ties with India.
The EU is one of the largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for India. FDI inflows from the EU to India were £5.48 billion in 2012 and £3.2 billion in 2013.
India and the EU are in the process of negotiating a bilateral Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) since 2007 which will significantly enhance the commercial relationship once implemented.