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EU delegation to visit India this week

A nine-member delegation will continue efforts to strengthen Europe's strategic partnership with India.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 12:43 IST

A nine-member delegation from the European Parliament is scheduled to make its second visit to India later this week to continue efforts to strengthen Europe's strategic partnership with India.

"One of the things the EU-India Action Plan highlights is more dialogue with parliament, with the Indian authorities and the establishment," Neena Gill, a British Member of European Parliament of Indian origin said.

The Joint Action plan to implement the EU-India Strategic Partnership was adopted in New Delhi in 2005.

The trip, by a second delegation led by the MEP who represents the East Midlands region, is aimed at realising the aims of the Action Plan.

"If we are to engage with India we need to understand the issues within India", Gill, who was born in Ludhiana, said.

The delegation will leave on April 17 and visit Delhi, Ludhiana, Chandigarh and other parts of Punjab.

She added: "We are going to look at democracy issues, how the Panchayat system works at a regional and also at a national level. One reason for going to Punjab is to look at agricultural issues. Whenever we have been to India before, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its impact in India is raised every single time.

"We have the report coming up in the parliament on EU-India Trade and the Rapporteur from the trade committee will be with us."

Sajjad Karim, a British MEP of Pakistani origin, is the rapporteur on the EU-India trade report and will be accompanying the delegation that covers a wide range of committees from employment and social affairs to trade and development.

On EU-India relations, Gill stressed the need for Europe to stay in the forefront as India continues to cement strong strategic partners with other members of the international community.

"I think EU-India relations are on the right track but of course India is talking to a lot of new partners, strategic partners, so it is quite important for us Europeans to also be there to remind that we have a plan, we have a road map that we need to be working on," she said.