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India, EU to combat terror, talk on free trade

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New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) India and the European Union on Friday agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorism while deciding to resume talks on a free trade agreement at the 14th India-EU Summit here.

"We agreed on fighting against terrorism together and increasing cooperation towards it," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a joint address to the media along with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker after delegation level talks here.

Modi said both sides agreed to cooperate on global issues and work together on climate change.

"Our multi-dimensional relations and strategic partnership is of prime importance," he said, adding that relations between the two sides had been reinforced following the 13th India-EU Summit at Brussels last year.

Stating that the EU continues to be India’s largest trading partner, the Prime Minister said the 28-nation bloc was also one of the largest investors in India.

He expressed happiness that the European Investment Bank will help member countries of the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA) to implement solar energy projects.

Tusk said India and the EU were two of the world’s largest democracies and both sides had agreed to develop the political dimension of the relationship.

"We adopted a joint declaration on counter-terrorism to deal effectively with the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, terror financing and arms supply arms supply," Tusk said. "We agreed to cooperate in security in the Indian Ocean region and beyond."

He said both sides also addressed the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar and called for the full implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

Tusk stressed that a free trade agreement between India and the EU was of importance.

Juncker pointed out that the EU was India’s largest trading partner accounting for 13 per cent of India’s overall trade.

Stating that it was time for a free trade agreement, he said talks on this would resume once conditions were met.

India and EU also signed three agreements following Friday’s talks: between European Commission and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) for Indian researchers hosted by the European Research Council grantees in Europe; finance contract of Bengaluru Metro Rail Project Phase-2-Line R6 for 300 million euros out of total European Investment Bank (EIB) loan of 500 million euros; and a joint declaration between the Interim Secretariat of the ISA and the EIB.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on Tusk and Juncker here.

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