EU and India advance negotiations on economic cooperation and future free-trade pact, and agree on further energy and research collaboration.
The EU and India stepped up cooperation on trade, energy and research at their meeting in New Delhi on 10 February.
The EU was represented by European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and Commission president José Manuel Barroso.
The EU and India expect to complete negotiations this autumn on a free-trade pact which aims to boost trade in goods and services.
“The EU-India free trade agreement will be the single biggest trade agreement in the world, benefiting 1.7 billion people,” said president Barroso. “It would mean new opportunities for both Indian and European companies. It would mean a key driver for sustainable growth, job creation and innovation in India and Europe.”
The EU is India's largest trading partner, accounting for about €86bn of trade in goods and services in 2010. Bilateral trade in goods rose by 20% between 2010 and 2011.
India has climbed from 15th to 8th in the list of the EU's main trading partners since 2002. The EU exported almost €35bn of goods to India and imported €33bn in 2010.
Energy and climate change
At the meeting, leaders on both sides pledged to work together to improve energy security, efficiency and safety. The EU will step up its cooperation with India to develop low carbon energy sources, especially renewable energy.
Research and innovation
Last year India, the Commission and EU countries launched a pilot research programme on water and bio-resources.
At this meeting they adopted a strategy to identify additional areas for research cooperation – such as energy, health and information and communication technologies. The EU and India will also increase research ties through more exchanges between universities and industry.
The two sides identified ways to increase cooperation in fighting terrorism, piracy off the Somali coast, and cyber-crime.
Leaders also discussed how India could help bring Iran back to international negotiations about its nuclear programme.