New Delhi: Looking to expand India’s engagement with the EU, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said he will work with the European leadership to deepen strategic cooperation in counter-terrorism and other “non-traditional” threats to security.
In a pre-departure statement before leaving for Brussels to attend the 11th annual India-European Union summit, Singh said India’s partnership with the 27-nation bloc has evolved from economic and development cooperation to a broader strategic engagement. The one-day summit is to held on Friday.
“I will seek to deepen our political and strategic cooperation, including in the area of counter-terrorism and other non-traditional threats to security,” Singh said.
The prime minister will be in Brussels on the first leg of his two-nation European tour that will also take him to Germany for talks with German leaders including chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday. He is due to return home on Sunday.
Singh also noted that there is a high degree of convergence of India’s views on global issues with that of the EU.
The Friday meet in the Belgian capital will be the first India-EU Summit since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty of the EU which recast its structures for strengthening the economic bloc’s external relations.
Singh said India welcomed the enhanced role that the EU seeks to play in global affairs pursuant to this Treaty.
The Summit jointly hosted by president of the European council Herman Van Rompuy and the president of the European commission Jose Manuel Barroso will also review the progress in the negotiations on a comprehensive Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement.
Finishing touches were reportedly being given in the hope of wrapping up the agreement which will help increase bilateral trade by 40 per cent to 100 billion Euros.
In Brussels, Singh will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Belgian counterpart Yves Leterme.
Acknowledging that Belgium has been supportive of India on issues of importance to it, the prime minister said the summit talks will explore ways of diversifying of bilateral trade basket and promoting cooperation in high-technology sectors.
Singh will fly to Berlin on Saturday for a working visit to Germany at the invitation of chancellor Angela Merkel.
The prime minister said he is looking forward to reviewing the progress in bilateral cooperation in areas of high technology, trade and energy.
UN Security Council reforms are also expected to be on the agenda of Singh-Merkel meeting. Germany and India will serve together on the Council as non-permanent members fro two years from January 2011 next.
Singh said that during his talks with European leaders the situation in Afghanistan and Climate Change, the state of the global economy and the role of the G-20 in the recovery process will also come up for discussions.