New Delhi: After negotiation of almost 13 years, India and European Union (EU) on Tuesday finally signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement ahead of their online summit on Wednesday. As per reports, Europol and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of India are negotiating a framework to combat organised crime and terrorism.
During the July 15 summit, the two countries are expected to unveil a five-year roadmap to further broadbase ties, launch separate dialogue on maritime security and for boosting trade and investment besides kicking off a process for effective cooperation between the CBI and Europol.
The 27-nation EU is a strategically important region for India. The EU as a whole was India’s largest trading partner in 2018. India’s bilateral trade with the EU in 2018-19 stood at USD 115.6 billion with exports valued at USD 57.17 billion and imports worth USD 58.42 billion.
“An announcement on firming up of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement will be made during the summit on Wednesday,” news agency PTI quoted EU officials as saying. The pact provides for extensive cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector.
EU officials also added that both India and European Union are expected to finalise an agreement between Europol and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on having a working arrangement to deal with organised crime and terrorism. The Europol is the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation.
The officials said both sides are also expected to launch a maritime security dialogue as part of efforts to expand defence and security cooperation.
Speaking about the EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), officials said that the current trade relationship between the two sides was below its potential and far less than what the bloc expects.
In the context of the stalled talks on the FTA, the officials talked about “India’s protectionist approach” on tariffs and reservations on opening up its services sector, adding New Delhi is also not showing interest in trade with sustainable development.
Negotiations for the proposed agreement, launched in 2007, have witnessed many hurdles as both sides have major differences on crucial issues.
As per reports, EU wants tax reduction on wines, spirits and dairy products, and a strong intellectual property regime, besides demanding significant duty cuts in automobiles.
While, on the other hand, India is asking that it be granted data secure nation status by the EU. The country is among the nations not considered as data secure by the EU.
Further speaking about the Coronavirus outbreak across the world, EU officials said India as well as other countries will have to resist the temptation of initiating protectionist measures to ensure economic recovery following the pandemic.
Further commenting on cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, they said both India and Europe have been victims of the menace and the leaders are expected to reaffirm their position on dealing with the challenge.
The officials further stated that the summit will be an opportunity to strengthen the EU-India strategic partnership, stressing the shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law, and respect for human rights by both sides.
They also said that as the world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders will discuss global cooperation and solidarity to protect lives, to mitigate the socio-economic consequences and to strengthen preparedness and response capacities.