EU-India summit expected by end of 2015

Brussels, June 17 (IANS) The next summit between the European Union and India is expected to be held by the end of this year, probably in November, after a gap of nearly three years, according to EU and Indian officials.

Manjeev Singh Puri , Ambassador of India to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg, speaking at an event on EU-India ties in Brussels on Tuesday, said “we hope we will be able to put together the big event that we believe can kickstart at the highest political level before the year is over.”

“There are conversations going on that. Politics has an important role to play. It has a leadership thrust ability, it has the ability to push things forward,” he noted.

“But I believe that business on the other hand is that engine which results in political leaders and everyone else also looking to move things forward,” he stated.

The speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan, will be leading a large parliamentary delegation to Brussels next week to strengthen bilateral parliamentary ties, announced Puri.

On his part, Zoran Stancic, European Commission Deputy Director-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology , said he “fully agrees that the long due summit which hopefully we will have this year could be a good opportunity where our political masters get together.”

The event titled ‘Europe, India and Modi – One year on’ was organised by a Brussels-based think tank, Friends of Europe, in association with Europe India Chamber of Commerce and Tata Consultancy Services.

The moderator of the event, Shada Islam, Director of Policy at Friends of Europe, lauded the Indian prime minister saying “Modi has been shaking up India and shaking up the world perception of India.”

“It is high time that the EU and India get their relationship to a new start. The sooner we get the deal on a free trade agreement, the better,” she said.

Speakers also addressed the issue of boosting the EU-India trade and investment flows which are still at a modest 72.5 billion and 5 billion euro respectively.

Another topic raised was how to overcome the present stalemate in negotiations on an EU-India Free Trade Agreement.

Other speakers at the event included Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Tata Consultancy Services, Shishir Bajoria, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and head of the Bajoria Group of Industries and Luisa Santos, Director for International Relations at the think tank BusinessEurope.

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