India, EU to strengthen dialogue mechanisms
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India, EU to strengthen dialogue mechanisms

The following is the complete text of Indo-EU strategic partnership plan.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2005 17:18 IST

The India-EU strategic partnership Joint Action Plan

EU-India relations go back to the early 1960s. India was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the (then) EEC. The 1994 cooperation agreement signed between EU and India took bilateral relations beyond merely trade and economic cooperation. Together with the Joint Political Statement signed in 1993 it opened the way for annual ministerial meetings and a broad political dialogue. The first India-EU Summit in Lisbon in June 2000 marked a watershed in the evolution of this relationship. Since then there have been five Summit-level interactions, the last being the Fifth Summit in The Hague on 8th November 2004. India-EU relations have grown exponentially from what used to be a purely trade and economic driven relationship to one covering all areas of interaction. The Summit in The Hague was a landmark Summit, as it endorsed the proposal to upgrade the India-EU relationship to the level of a 'Strategic Partnership'. We see this Partnership as more than just the sum of its parts. We see it as a qualitative transformation in the way we engage as equal partners and work together in partnership with the world at large.

The strategic importance of the relationship

India-EU relations have developed substantially since the adoption of the 1993 Declaration. An extensive bilateral political dialogue has evolved, which includes regular annual summits, Troika Ministerial and Senior Official level meetings covering a wide range of issues. In the economic sphere, ties have expanded and we have worked closely together to strengthen the multilateral trading system and to pursue a constructive dialogue on trade and investment and economic cooperation.

India and the EU, as the largest democracies in the world, share common values and beliefs that make them natural partners as well as factors of stability in the present world order. We share a common commitment to democracy, pluralism, human rights and the rule of law, to an independent judiciary and media. India and the EU also have much to contribute towards fostering a rule-based international order - be it through the United Nations (UN) or through the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We hold a common belief in the fundamental importance of multilateralism in accordance with the UN Charter and in the essential role of the UN for maintaining international peace and security, promoting the economic and social advancement of all peoples and meeting global threats and challenges.

As the EU evolves and enlarges, and as we both face diverse and complex global challenges, it is critically important to expand our multifaceted relationship and build upon these foundations. We commit ourselves accordingly to:

·Strengthening dialogue and consultation mechanisms;
·Deepening political dialogue and cooperation;
·Bringing together People and Cultures;
·Enhancing Economic Policy Dialogue and Cooperation;
·Developing Trade and Investment.

I. Strengthening dialogue and consultation mechanisms

India and the EU have effective mechanisms for dialogue at all levels. With the launching of the India-EU Strategic Partnership, it is necessary to further intensify our dialogue, both by actively strengthening existing mechanisms and making them more efficient as well as initiating dialogues in new areas being considered for cooperation. It would also be necessary to put follow up mechanisms in place in order to effectively implement the decisions taken, with a view to ensuring a more sustained and cohesive approach to issues affecting India and the EU over an increasingly wide range of sectors.

Towards this end, India and the EU will:

·Maintain the high level dialogue at Summit and Ministerial level on all issues of mutual interest. Make full use of opportunities for contacts between Indian Ministers and their EU counterparts on issues of mutual relevance;

·Continue to exchange views on regional issues and the international situation at the official and ministerial level;

·Review at the Senior Officials Meeting and EU-India Joint Commission the effective implementation of decisions taken at the political level.

The progress in the implementation of the Joint Action Plan will be placed before each annual Summit, and an overall assessment will be made for the 2008 India-EU Summit.

II. Political dialogue and cooperation

Pluralism and diversity

Both India and the EU are multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual societies. India is a microcosm of the globe because of its sub-continental size and a population that accounts for nearly one sixth of humanity. India, with the second largest Muslim community in the world, is a paradigm of Asia's syncretic culture, and of how various religions can flourish in a plural, democratic and open society. The EU, with its expanding geographical boundaries and diversifying demography, is one of the most demographically diverse entities in the world and yet able to synthesise the diversity of its member states into a coherent whole. These are areas where both India and the EU could benefit from an exchange of experiences. Both sides share the objective of contributing to the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity, which we consider an inalienable value, and the promotion of dialogue among cultures at the international level.

Towards this end:

· India and the EU will initiate a dialogue on Pluralism and Diversity with a view to sharing experiences and enhancing mutual knowledge of the cultural and linguistic diversity existing within India and EU;

· India and the EU will continue to encourage academic exchanges on the dynamics of pluralistic societies in Europe and Asia.

Dialogue on regional cooperation in the EU and in SAARC

SAARC and the EU are large entities with complex structures and diverse demographies. India and the EU would benefit from a deepened exchange of views on developments in Europe and South Asia. The European Commission already has a Memorandum of Understanding with SAARC, the main focus of which is technical assistance. The European Commission and SAARC Secretariat are currently exploring the possibilities of strengthening cooperation for technical assistance in various projects.

Towards this end, India and the EU will seek to have a regular exchange of views on regional cooperation in the EU and in SAARC.

Democracy and human rights

Both India and the EU are committed to upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms and have ratified the major international human rights instruments. These shared values, based on democracy, pluralism and respect for the rule of law gives strength to the relationship.

We propose to:

· Continue in a spirit of equality and mutual respect, the dialogue on Human Rights both in a multilateral and bilateral context, with the objective of building greater mutual understanding and expanding common ground in order to strengthen the foundations of the strategic partnership;

· Consult and discuss positions on human rights and democracy issues and look at opportunities for co-sponsoring resolutions on thematic issues in relevant fora such as UN Commission on Human Rights or UNGA Third Committee;

· Look together for possible synergies and initiatives to promote human rights and democracy.

Effective multilateralism

India and the EU believe that a multilateral approach, in which the UN plays a central role, is the best way to address global challenges such as development which is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable; effective management of globalisation; terrorism; drug trafficking; organised crime; natural disasters; pandemics; and energy security.

Accordingly, we will:

· Work closely to promote effective multilateralism;

· Continue to hold regular consultations on thematic issues prior to the UN General Assembly (UNGA), and work together on negotiation and implementation of the outcome of major international conferences and Summits including on security, trade, environment, development and human rights;

· Exchange views on the issues raised by the Secretary General of the United Nations in his comprehensive report entitled 'In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security, and Human Rights for all';

· Endeavour to invite each other reciprocally for conferences sponsored by either side where the other is, or can be, a participant.

Peacekeeping, peace-building and post-conflict assistance

India and the EU have a common interest in UN peacekeeping and in post-conflict political and economic rehabilitation and reconstruction.

We propose to work together in the first instance in the following areas:

· Consultation before major UN debates on peacekeeping and peace-building and in the preparation of major peace conferences;

· Establishing a dialogue at official level on UN peacekeeping and peace-building to exchange perspectives on conceptual and operational aspects of Peacekeeping Operations, including post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation, in order to identify and develop specific areas of cooperation in the following sectors:

- Training for military and civilian components of peacekeeping missions, including Police and other security forces;

- Exchange of trainees and instructors between Peacekeeping Training Centres of India and EU Member States;

- Joint support of UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts, including as regards improved analytical capacities and greater cooperation between EU and Indian components of UN peacekeeping missions;

- Trade and development in peace-building;

- Post-conflict and confidence building projects in other regions of the world;

- Seminars and other activities designed to facilitate post conflict management.

Disarmament and non-proliferation of WMD and security dialogue

India and the EU have a shared interest in working towards achieving the goals and objectives of universal disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and its linkages with terrorism poses a threat to international peace and security.

In this context, we resolve to enhance collective action to fight the proliferation of WMD as well as their means of delivery. We believe that our response to proliferation challenges requires strengthened multilateral consultations and the pooling of all efforts and resources. We agree that effective export control measures for dual use goods can play an important role in preventing proliferation, and at the same time, such measures should not hamper international co-operation in materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.

We will establish a bilateral India-EU Security Dialogue at Senior Official level which will include regular consultations on global and regional security issues, disarmament and non-proliferation to increase mutual understanding and identify possible areas of cooperation.

Fight against terrorism and organised crime

India and the EU recognise the fact that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and reaffirm their condemnation of all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, irrespective of their motivations, forms and manifestations.

We propose to work together to strengthen our cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts in accordance with the UN Charter and applicable principles of international law.

We agree to:

· Support the work of the UN to ensure universal respect for and full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs), UN conventions on terrorism and related protocols;

· Cooperate in the fight against terrorism and establish contacts between the Indian and EU Counter Terrorism Coordinators;

· Cooperate in the fight against trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substances, and the diversion of chemical precursors related to their production;

· Work closely to promote the early entry into force of the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and for the early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism;

· Work together to reduce terrorist access to financing and to fight money-laundering, and monitor suspicious transactions, taking into account international standards adopted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF);

· Exchange views on how to develop the comprehensive United Nations counter-terrorism strategy based upon the recommendations in the Secretary General's report "In Larger Freedom";

· Expand the EU-India dialogue to include the link between drug trafficking and terrorism, document security, illicit arms trafficking and cyber-terrorism;

· Promote cooperation between Europol on the EU side and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the Indian side;

· Establish an Indian contact point in India for Eurojust.

III. Bringing together people and cultures

Migration and consular issues

The subjects of Migration and Consular Issues are increasingly important in the context of globalisation, given the large-scale movement of people from region to region for economic or other reasons and the large migrant communities in both India and the EU. It is important to note that India is a source, transit point and a destination for migrants. We recognise that we need to maintain a constant dialogue on all aspects relating to migration and consular issues. We also recognise that facilitation of movement of people is an important aspect of improving people-to-people contacts.

Given the inter-connections between migration and other issues such as public security, we are convinced of the need for an exchange of views in this area. It is, therefore, felt useful to hold a comprehensive dialogue on migration issues.

The India-EU Joint Working Group on Consular Issues was set up following the first India-EU Summit in Lisbon in 2000, in order to enhance cooperation in facilitating the movement of people between India and the EU, including the speedy delivery of consular and visa services and enhancing business relations and tourism. The Working Group meets twice a year to discuss issues of concern on either side. We encourage it to continue its work, with a view to further facilitating progress.

We will therefore:

· Hold dialogues on all aspects of migration and consular issues of interest to us;

· Encourage institutions on either side to undertake joint studies on problems relating to skill-set shortages and the changing demographic profiles in our regions.

Parliamentary exchanges

As the two largest democracies in the world, the importance of regular Parliamentary interactions between India and the EU can hardly be over-emphasised. They are essential to enhance understanding of each other's points of view on matters of interest to both sides. They also encourage greater understanding of each other's democratic systems and areas of responsibility.

We propose to:

· Work towards the further development of EU-India friendship groups in the Indian Parliament and the European Parliament;

· Organise regular exchanges of visits by Parliamentary delegations, including by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to the European Parliament and the President of the European Parliament to the Indian Parliament;

· Encourage greater interaction between subject-specific Parliamentary Committees on both sides.

First Published: Sep 07, 2005 14:28 IST