Preparation of the EU-India Summit
Delivered in Plenary - 24th September 2008
The EU strategic partnership with democratic, secular India is of critical importance in these dangerous and unpredictable times, as this is a country that shares our values and aspirations.
We face common challenges: the fight against terrorism – and in this context I hereby call for Europol to grant India privileged status in the exchange of intelligence and the fight against terrorism – the need to protect the environment including the issue of climate change, and the importance of managing the benefits of globalisation.
The recent bombings in Delhi have underlined the serious threat India faces from Islamist terrorism. Mindful of the instability in India’s neighbouring countries, from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, it should be obvious to all of us that we should do our utmost to support India, both as a regional power in South Asia, but also one which plays a major, constructive and global role in multilateral fora such as SAARC, ASEAN and the UN, where it is high time that India be granted a permanent seat on the Security Council.
Our resolution rightly expresses concerns about the recent killings of Christians in the Orissa Province and unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, calling for those responsible to be punished, as human rights and the rule of law are at the forefront of the EU’s strategic partnership with India. This situation is in stark contrast to the EU’s dealings with the People’s Republic of China, which considers itself immune from our pleas to respect the human rights of its citizens.
I do hope that the forthcoming summit will solidify the flourishing relationship between India and the EU, especially in the field of commerce. As co-president and founder of the Friends of India and draftsman in the Foreign Affairs Committee for the EU-India Free Trade Agreement, I want to see rapid steps towards establishing a free trade relationship, to our mutual benefit, with large foreign direct investment now flowing from India to the EU for the first time. But my group, the PPE-DE, also wants to see enhanced political cooperation in the many challenges, such as the current issue of global financial instability, that we both face for the future.