India, EU join hands to curb terror
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India, EU join hands to curb terror

An action plan firmed up ties and both pledged to boost dialogue mechanisms.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2005 02:11 IST

India and the 25-nation European Union (EU) on Wednesday launched an action plan to deepen their strategic partnership and jointly combat terrorism.

"We have had a good and extremely productive discussion at the 6th India-EU summit today. The most important outcome has been the adoption of a joint action plan which provides the necessary framework for our fast evolving multi-faceted relations," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Hyderabad House.

The action plan firmed up the India-EU partnership, with both sides pledging to strengthen dialogue and consultation mechanisms, deepen their political dialogue and cultural ties, enhance economic policy dialogue and cooperation, and develop trade and investment.

The action plan was agreed upon at a meeting between Manmohan Singh and Blair, in his capacity as EU president.

With the July 7 terror attacks in London still fresh in memory, terrorism topped the concern of both Indian and EU leaders.

"At the top of the agenda is intensified political dialogue and cooperation, with a view to meeting common challenges and global threats, starting with terrorism. We have agreed that there is no place for terrorism in the civilised world and that we would work together towards achieving it," Manmohan Singh said.

Blair echoed the sentiment: "The mood among the international community has changed dramatically on the subject of terrorism. We expect the condemnation of terrorism and resolutions of the UN to be carried through by every one.

"The international community speaks in one voice on the issue, that was not possible till sometime back, and is not just determined but is showing a certain degree of passion to combat terrorism," he added.

Asked about Pakistan's role in fomenting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, he said: "I don't want to speak on India-Pakistan relations. However, there is absolutely no justification for cold-blooded murder of innocent people. I welcome the changes that have been made in recent days by Pakistan."

The European Union delegation also included Jose Manuel Barroso, president of European Commission, and Javier Solana, the EU high representative for common foreign and security policy.

Describing the action plan as "an ambitious and unique document", Manmohan Singh added: "It builds on the common values and beliefs that India and the EU share as the world's two largest democracies, the values that makes us natural partners."

The two sides signed a crucial framework agreement on India's participation in the Galileo satellite navigation system as was agreed upon at the Hague summit last year.

The Galileo satellite positioning and navigation services system project is a joint initiative of the EU and the European Space Agency and is being positioned as a rival to the US Global Positioning System.

Conceptualised in 1999, the Galileo programme is likely to cost 3.4 billion euros when it becomes operational in 2008. China and Israel have already signed for the project.

The action plan also covers other areas of mutual cooperation like climate change, science and technology, enhanced parliamentary exchanges, greater people to people contacts and dialogue related to migration and consular access.

Manmohan Singh thanked the EU for being positive towards India's participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), designed to build a fusion reactor by pooling scientific and financial resources involving the US, European Union, Russia, South Korea, China, Japan and Switzerland.

Barroso described the summit as a successful one. "We share common values like democracy, pluralism and respect for human rights," he said.

On energy cooperation, the two sides agreed to launch an India-EU initiative on clean development and clean change.

Manmohan Singh urged the EU "to revisit and review technology export control regimes that create a restrictive environment for technology transfers to India.

"India's impeccable record in this area is well known and we hope the EU will respond positively," he asserted.

A political declaration adopted on India-EU strategic partnership covers global and regional issues, disarmament and non-proliferation. It provides for enhancing trade and economic cooperation between India and EU.

First Published: Sep 08, 2005 02:11 IST