India and the European Union, which are bound by a strategic partnership, opened their seventh summit at Helsinki on Friday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling the relations "extremely important".
"India and EU are two of the largest democracies in the world. Our relationship to EU is very special. We consider strategic partnership between India and EU as extremely important," he said in comments to the Finnish media ahead of the inaugural at Finlandia Hall.
Among the subjects Manmohan Singh will discuss with EU leaders are those related to energy, environment, greater business prospects, terrorism and international issues of common interest, said Indian officials.
The first India-EU summit was held in Lisbon in 2000 and the last in New Delhi in 2005. Besides India, the EU has strategic relations with only five other countries - the US, Russia, Canada, Japan and Russia.
The EU as a bloc of 25 nations is India's largest trading partner and one of the largest sources of FDI for India.
Manmohan Singh, who ends his three-day visit to Finland on Saturday, attended the India-EU business summit on Thursday and also held talks with his Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen.