The European Commission said it had proposed a new trade and investment pact with India omitting clauses on weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and rights, despite worries this could set a risky precedent.
Annalisa Giannella, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana’s representative for nonproliferation and WMD, voiced concern last week about support for omitting the WMD clause by some EU states discussing the proposed negotiating mandate for the pact. She told a European parliament committee that omitting the clause would set “a terrible double standard”. “If we were to adopt for India an approach different from the approach we adopt with other countries, I think we would abandon the idea of having a WMD clause with third countries,” she said.
Commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin said the EU executive had proposed a purely technical agreement on trade and investment and added: “The Commission does not routinely include standard political clauses in agreements of this kind.” “We are committed to non-proliferation and the fight against WMDs, but this is not the place for a WMD clause,” she said.
Udwin said clauses on WMD and rights were already in a Joint Action Plan agreed by India and the European Union in 2005.
An EU official said India did not want a WMD clause in the trade and investment agreement and India’s Commerce Minister Kamal Nath was quoted in Monday’s Financial Times as saying that a clause on democracy and rights would be a “deal breaker”.
“This is meant to be a specifically targeted trade and investment agreement, which it will not be if other elements come into it,” he told the paper, which made no reference to the WMD clause.