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'Treaty to protect small farmers'

The forthcoming trade and investment agreement between India and the European Union (EU) will have built-in safeguards to "protect the essential interests" of vulnerable sections such as small farmers in India, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Varghese K George reports.

world Updated: Dec 11, 2010 00:56 IST
Varghese K George

The forthcoming trade and investment agreement between India and the European Union (EU) will have built-in safeguards to "protect the essential interests" of vulnerable sections such as small farmers in India, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The agreement will bring enormous benefits to both sides," he said.

After the EU-India summit, Singh and EU leaders told a press conference that they have asked "officials to redouble their efforts to reach a conclusion by the spring of 2011."

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council and JE Barroso, president of the European Commission addressed the presser along with PM Singh.

A much expected announcement from the EU on allowing transit for Indian-origin generic drugs in its ports did not materialise as its details could not be finalised.

"The issue is moving towards resolution," said Rahul Khullar, commerce secretary.

India and EU agreed that the international community's success in Afghanistan was critical for the people of Afghanistan as well as for the stability and security of India and Europe.

Most members of the EU are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisaiton (NATO) which has recently resolved to empower the Afghan police and government before it rolls out a withdrawal strategy from 2014 onwards.

EU diplomats have said its approach to Afghanistan is not "deadline specific, but based on achieving targets."

A separate EU-India joint declaration on international terrorism outlined several measures to combat the menace. In an oblique reference to Pakistan, the declaration denounced "those who provide terrorists safe havens" and also talked about the "cross border dimensions of terrorism."

Usually, the EU has been sensitive to Pakistan's concerns.

Many EU countries have been facing terror threats continuously, mostly originating from South Asia.

The declaration said both sides will work towards better cooperation in law enforcement, cyber security, transport, aviation and border security.

The joint declaration also committed to exploring the possibilities of an extradition treaty between India and EU, which, if comes through, will be the first of its kind.

Singh said agreements on nuclear energy and maritime transport are under negotiation between the two sides.