Other available languages: FR
Brussels, 7 September 2005
11984/05 (Presse 223)
The India-EU strategic partnership joint action plan
EU-India relations go back to the early 1960s. India was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the (then) EEC. The 1994 cooperation agreement signed between EU and India took bilateral relations beyond merely trade and economic cooperation. Together with the Joint Political Statement signed in 1993 it opened the way for annual ministerial meetings and a broad political dialogue. The first India-EU Summit in Lisbon in June 2000 marked a watershed in the evolution of this relationship. Since then there have been five Summit-level interactions, the last being the Fifth Summit in The Hague on 8th November 2004. India-EU relations have grown exponentially from what used to be a purely trade and economic driven relationship to one covering all areas of interaction. The Summit in The Hague was a landmark Summit, as it endorsed the proposal to upgrade the India-EU relationship to the level of a 'Strategic Partnership'. We see this Partnership as more than just the sum of its parts. We see it as a qualitative transformation in the way we engage as equal partners and work together in partnership with the world at large.
THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF THE RELATIONSHIP
India-EU relations have developed substantially since the adoption of the 1993 Declaration. An extensive bilateral political dialogue has evolved, which includes regular annual summits, Troika Ministerial and Senior Official level meetings covering a wide range of issues. In the economic sphere, ties have expanded and we have worked closely together to strengthen the multilateral trading system and to pursue a constructive dialogue on trade and investment and economic cooperation.
India and the EU, as the largest democracies in the world, share common values and beliefs that make them natural partners as well as factors of stability in the present world order. We share a common commitment to democracy, pluralism, human rights and the rule of law, to an independent judiciary and media. India and the EU also have much to contribute towards fostering a rule-based international order - be it through the United Nations (UN) or through the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We hold a common belief in the fundamental importance of multilateralism in accordance with the UN Charter and in the essential role of the U N for maintaining international peace and security, promoting the economic and social advancement of all peoples and meeting global threats and challenges.
As the EU evolves and enlarges, and as we both face diverse and complex global challenges, it is critically important to expand our multifaceted relationship and build upon these foundations. We commit ourselves accordingly to:
I. STRENGTHENING DIALOGUE AND CONSULTATION MECHANISMS
India and the EU have effective mechanisms for dialogue at all levels. With the launching of the India-EU Strategic Partnership, it is necessary to further intensify our dialogue, both by actively strengthening existing mechanisms and making them more efficient as well as initiating dialogues in new areas being considered for cooperation. It would also be necessary to put follow up mechanisms in place in order to effectively implement the decisions taken, with a view to ensuring a more sustained and cohesive approach to issues affecting India and the EU over an increasingly wide range of sectors.
Towards this end, India and the EU will:
The progress in the implementation of the Joint Action Plan will be placed before each annual Summit, and an overall assessment will be made for the 2008 India-EU Summit.
II. POLITICAL DIALOGUE AND COOPERATION
PLURALISM AND DIVERSITY
Both India and the EU are multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual societies. India is a microcosm of the globe because of its sub-continental size and a population that accounts for nearly one sixth of humanity. India, with the second largest Muslim community in the world, is a paradigm of Asia's syncretic culture, and of how various religions can flourish in a plural, democratic and open society. The EU, with its expanding geographical boundaries and diversifying demography, is one of the most demographically diverse entities in the world and yet able to synthesise the diversity of its member states into a coherent whole. These are areas where both India and the EU could benefit from an exchange of experiences. Both sides share the objective of contributing to the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity, which we consider an inalienable value, and the promotion of dialogue among cultures at the international level.
Towards this end:
DIALOGUE ON REGIONAL COOPERATION IN THE EU AND IN SAARC
SAARC and the EU are large entities with complex structures and diverse demographies. India and the EU would benefit from a deepened exchange of views on developments in Europe and South Asia. The European Commission already has a Memorandum of Understanding with SAARC, the main focus of which is technical assistance. The European Commission and SAARC Secretariat are currently exploring the possibilities of strengthening cooperation for technical assistance in various projects.
Towards this end, India and the EU will seek to have a regular exchange of views on regional cooperation in the EU and in SAARC.
DEMOCRACY & HUMAN RIGHTS
Both India and the EU are committed to upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms and have ratified the major international human rights instruments. These shared values, based on democracy, pluralism and respect for the rule of law gives strength to the relationship.
We propose to:
India and the EU believe that a multilateral approach, in which the UN plays a central role, is the best way to address global challenges such as development which is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable; effective management of globalisation; terrorism; drug trafficking; organised crime; natural disasters; pandemics; and energy security.
Accordingly, we will:
PEACEKEEPING, PEACE-BUILDING AND POST-CONFLICT ASSISTANCE
India and the EU have a common interest in UN peacekeeping and in post-conflict political and economic rehabilitation and reconstruction.
We propose to work together in the first instance in the following areas:
DISARMAMENT AND NON-PROLIFERATION OF WMD AND SECURITY DIALOGUE
India and the EU have a shared interest in working towards achieving the goals and objectives of universal disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and its linkages with terrorism poses a threat to international peace and security.
In this context, we resolve to enhance collective action to fight the proliferation of WMD as well as their means of delivery. We believe that our response to proliferation challenges requires strengthened multilateral consultations and the pooling of all efforts and resources. We agree that effective export control measures for dual use goods can play an important role in preventing proliferation, and at the same time, such measures should not hamper international co-operation in materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.
We will establish a bilateral India-EU Security Dialogue at Senior Official level which will include regular consultations on global and regional security issues, disarmament and non-proliferation to increase mutual understanding and identify possible areas of cooperation.
FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM AND ORGANISED CRIME
India and the EU recognise the fact that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and reaffirm their condemnation of all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, irrespective of their motivations, forms and manifestations.
We propose to work together to strengthen our cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts in accordance with the UN Charter and applicable principles of international law.
We agree to:
III. BRINGING TOGETHER PEOPLE AND CULTURES
MIGRATION AND CONSULAR ISSUES
The subjects of Migration and Consular Issues are increasingly important in the context of globalisation, given the large-scale movement of people from region to region for economic or other reasons and the large migrant communities in both India and the EU. It is important to note that India is a source, transit point and a destination for migrants. We recognise that we need to maintain a constant dialogue on all aspects relating to migration and consular issues. We also recognise that facilitation of movement of people is an important aspect of improving people-to-people contacts.
Given the inter-connections between migration and other issues such as public security, we are convinced of the need for an exchange of views in this area. It is, therefore, felt useful to hold a comprehensive dialogue on migration issues.
The India-EU Joint Working Group on Consular Issues was set up following the first India-EU Summit in Lisbon in 2000, in order to enhance cooperation in facilitating the movement of people between India and the EU, including the speedy delivery of consular and visa services and enhancing business relations and tourism. The Working Group meets twice a year to discuss issues of concern on either side. We encourage it to continue its work, with a view to further facilitating progress.
We will therefore:
As the two largest democracies in the world, the importance of regular Parliamentary interactions between India and the EU can hardly be over-emphasised. They are essential to enhance understanding of each other's points of view on matters of interest to both sides. They also encourage greater understanding of each other's democratic systems and areas of responsibility.
We propose to:
EDUCATION & ACADEMIC EXCHANGES
We are convinced that cooperation between institutions of higher education and the exchange of scholars and students play a significant role in enhancing mutual knowledge. We therefore propose to build on existing programmes between India and EU Member States and develop new initiatives to accord greater opportunities to students from both sides to study in each other's universities.
We will seek to:
CIVIL SOCIETY EXCHANGES
The First India-EU Summit in Lisbon in June 2000 recognised that the involvement of organised civil society in the dialogue between the two sides would add a new dimension to India-EU relations. Given the vibrant and free civil societies that flourish in India and in the EU, it was felt that the creation of a forum to institutionalise such interaction would enhance each other's understanding of regional and global problems through open and frank discussions. In pursuit of this approach, the India-EU Round Table was inaugurated in January 2001 so as to complement the existing political, economic and social links. Eight Round Tables covering diverse areas of mutual interest have been successfully held. We will seek to expand our cooperation through:
The E U and India, which enjoy rich and diversified cultural traditions, recognise culture as an important instrument to foster close cooperation among States. We express satisfaction at the ongoing programmes and cultural exchanges between India and EU Member States and will endeavour to increase these exchanges both at the institutional level as well as at the level of public and private organisations. We believe that more areas of cooperation can be further considered and exploited, especially in fields where longstanding cultural traditions, as well as contemporary creations, can enrich such cooperation and make it fruitful. We will identify such areas and explore ways of collaboration.
We will in particular seek to:
INCREASING MUTUAL VISIBILITY
India and the EU are large geographical entities, with complex and diverse demographies and rich histories and cultural traditions. This necessitates a conscious effort on both sides to inform each other's public opinion. Both societies are evolving rapidly and there is a constant need to update the media image on both sides. The strategy to enhance mutual visibility should include enhancing the effectiveness of available instruments at our disposal, in addition to exploring new ones.
To this end, we propose to:
Develop periodically EU-India thematic cultural years (eg cinema, music, dance, literature.)
IV. ECONOMIC POLICY DIALOGUE AND COOPERATION
A strengthened exchange of views and information between India and the EU on matters of mutual interest in the areas of economic cooperation will improve the business environment, leading to strengthened economic relations. Moreover, in the long term, it will help to reduce obstacles to bilateral trade and investment.
For this purpose, both sides agree to the setting up of discussion platforms including several new Working Groups. Inter-linkages between the Working Groups will be through the existing Sub- Commissions and the Joint Commission.
Cooperation between India and the EU on industrial issues and understanding of the regulatory framework has been growing in recent years. Under the 'Joint Initiative to Enhance Trade and Investment’, the two sides jointly carried out general as well as eight sector specific studies on trade and investment matters. On the basis of the results of the studies, Indian and European business associations brought out a set of recommendations, which were placed before the 2001 and 2002 Summits.
Considering the potential for a further enhanced dialogue, both sides agree to:
Following the useful Joint Initiative studies, both sides also agree that a new initiative on enhancing bilateral Trade and Investment would be taken up.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
In both India and the EU, the development of science and technology (S&T) capabilities, to help boost innovation and competitiveness, has taken centre stage in policy making. India and the EU began cooperation in the S&T sectors in the mid-1980s, which has now led to more than a hundred joint research projects. Research collaboration has mainly focused on sustainable development key themes (health, agriculture, natural resources management). The India-EC Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement entered into force on 14 October 2002. It has been a major milestone in bringing together our S&T expertise for our mutual interest.
Yet the potential for more India-EU collaboration in many new and emerging high-tech areas is huge. India is a priority country for collaboration under the international dimension of the EU’s Sixth Framework Research Programme (FP6) and for participating in the preparation of FP7 so as to synergise it with India-EC S&T Agreement. We share a firm commitment to foster European and Indian joint research, for our mutual benefit and as a contribution to solving global issues.
In order to build upon our well-established policy dialogue and partnership in S&T, India and the EU propose to:
FINANCE AND MONETARY AFFAIRS
India and the EU have a strong and growing presence in international financial discussions. The introduction of the Euro has strengthened the EU’s role and responsibilities in the international monetary arena. In an increasingly interdependent and global economy, where the financial and monetary policies of one major economic actor affect others, India and the EU share a common interest in developing an in-depth policy dialogue on global financial and monetary issues.
For this reason, India and the EU should promote exchange of views and information between relevant institutions and policy makers in the economic and financial domain. This would allow an exchange of views on macroeconomic and financial matters of common interest. Dialogue already taking place in various fora should be further strengthened.
To this end it is agreed to:
India and the EU are committed to creating the conditions necessary for sustainable economic development. Each recognises the interdependencies in the field of environment and the trans-boundary character of many environmental problems. As major global actors, both partners are fully conscious of their capacity to play a central role in international efforts towards better environmental global governance.
India and the EU are signatories and active contributors to the main multilateral instruments, including the Kyoto Protocol, and the UN Convention on Biodiversity.
To realise our shared vision of making sustainable development a reality, India and the EU will seek to:
CLEAN DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
India and the EU agree that urgent action is required by all countries to address the issue of climate change on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Both sides are of the view that in the years to come the UNFCCC and the Kyoto process must gain further momentum. India and the EU also urge Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to achieve their targets, where obligated for the first commitment period. India and the EU further commit themselves to work together closely on future global negotiations for tackling climate change, consistent with the principles of UNFCCC beyond 2012.
Accordingly, India and the EU agree to launch an India-EU Initiative on Clean Development and Climate Change. This Initiative will focus on voluntary practical measures, and be taken forward at successive India-EU Summits. In view of the particular importance of cleaner technologies for tackling climate change, both sides further agree to:
It was further decided that India and the EU would take steps to encourage and promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production to lessen the causes and adverse impacts of climate change.
India and the EU agree to strengthen the implementation of the CDM to promote cooperation on CDM between India and the EU and to encourage our companies to engage in CDM projects. The proposed India–EU Seminar on CDM would also explore the possibilities of making CDM processes more efficient, and with reduced transaction costs.
India and the EU will cooperate on improving our adaptation to climate change and integrate adaptation concerns into our respective sustainable development strategies. Both sides agree to cooperate to enhance the scientific, technical and institutional capacity to predict climate change and its socio-economic impacts. Research and development on technologies and measures to adapt to climate change will be further pursued by India and the EU.
Energy is of major significance for both India and the EU. Both sides recognise the need to work towards achieving safe, secure, affordable and sustainable energy supplies. Joint efforts in the development of more efficient, cleaner and alternative energy chains will be paramount.
In this context, an India-EU Energy Panel has been set up to coordinate joint efforts and discuss energy related matters of mutual interest. The Energy Panel has decided to set up Working Groups in the areas of:
Both sides agree to cooperate closely in the areas of:
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
Information and communication technologies (ICT) influence all areas of society, business and government. The development and widespread adoption of new ICT services and networks have powerful effects on economic and social development.
India has developed a strong capacity in ICT, capturing a large and growing share of the world market for IT and software services. With its large pool of talented IT specialists and world class facilities for IT research and development, India is considered an important partner for Europe and vice versa.
Many ICT researchers and businesses on both sides are keen to strengthen links with their counterparts.
In 2001, India and the EU took further concrete steps to promote mutual cooperation in the development of ICT and a modern information society, as expressed in the Joint EU-India Vision Statement on IT adopted at the Second Summit in New Delhi.
By building upon our already extensive information society dialogue, the EU and India have agreed to:
India and the EU have a common interest to explore synergies in developing reliable, safe and secure transport networks and linkages, which respond to the needs of individuals and business. Efficient transport systems will increase competitiveness on both sides and enhance our attractiveness as investment locations.
The EC’s economic cooperation with India in the field of transport is well established. The India- EC Civil Aviation Project is the largest bilateral economic cooperation project in India. The project aims to strengthen civil air safety and stimulates cooperation between Indian and the EU civil aviation authorities and European aerospace industries.
The India-EC Maritime Transport Project, which ended in late 2003, inter alia, contributed to electronic data interchange programme in the port sector in India.
To advance our mutual interests in this important sector, India and the EU have agreed to:
Both India and Europe are at the cutting-edge of research in the field of Space Technology, and there is a wide scope for cooperation. With a view to promote collaboration and provide an appropriate environment for fruitful cooperation in the space sector, both parties will:
PHARMACEUTICALS AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
The EU is the second largest centre of biotechnology research activity in the world and Indian biotechnology is advancing rapidly. Opportunities for partnership in areas such as new discoveries, preclinical/clinical trials and bio-informatics already exist and the potential for collaboration in agri-biotechnology, food safety and pharmaceuticals is growing.
Greater interaction and enhanced cooperation between respective EU and Indian administrations, industry and research institutions would lead to faster progress and greater benefits for all. For this reason the EU and India agree to:
India and the EU appreciate the social and economic importance for both sides to develop and preserve a dynamic agricultural sector. To create the conditions necessary for an efficient, modern and diversified agricultural sector, the EU and India have agreed to:
The EU is India’s largest trading partner and India-EU bilateral trade has been showing great dynamism. Both sides agreed that trade volumes can be further boosted. The EU and India are committed to understanding the problems faced by EU and Indian companies in relation to customs controls.
To help overcome various obstacles to trade and improve supply chain security, India and the EU propose to:
Both sides also agreed to:
EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL POLICY
Employment and social policies are core issues within the EU and the Government of India has put them at the heart of its policy approach. India and the EU are committed to promote full, freely chosen and productive employment with full respect for fundamental principles, fair wages and rights at work. India and the EU share a common interest to develop a policy dialogue on employment and social security to share experience, periodic exchange of views and information on:
The close association of industry and business in India-EU cooperation as well as dialogue between businesses from both sides are crucial to achieving the common goal of enhanced trade and investment. Industry and business of India and the EU are not only competitors but also partners.
Regular business summits have been held since 2001. These summits have helped to create better understanding of the opportunities and obstacles in a broad variety of sectors. The recent phenomenon of Indian investments in EU especially in knowledge-based sectors of IT, Pharma, etc., has added a new dimension to overall India-EU economic relations.
Both sides should build on those experiences to promote a strategic discussion on improving business links. We have therefore decided to:
Against the backdrop of thirty years of engagement between India and EU both sides are committed to achieve progress with regard to the Millennium Development Goals and related international agendas.
Since 1976, the EC has committed around €2 billion of development cooperation to India. The allocation for the 2002-2006 programming period is €225 million. An emphasis has been placed on health, education, water and environment.
This commitment should be further enhanced. With a view to provide impetus to India-EU cooperation it is proposed to deepen development cooperation in Health and Education sectors, under which the EU - working together with the Government of India - will aim to significantly enhance development cooperation to supplement Indian programmes, namely Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), two important social sector programmes, for the remaining period of the 10th Five Year Plan and the 11th Five year Plan periods of the Government of India.
India is itself becoming an increasingly active player in an evolving development policy: it is both a recipient and donor, a user of developmental innovations and an exporter of new concepts. India’s position as an emerging bilateral donor under the ‘Indian Development & Economic Assistance Scheme (IDEAS)’ could pave the way for a fruitful EU-India dialogue on optimal implementation of development cooperation in third countries.
We are committed to implementing the following actions:
V. DEVELOPING TRADE AND INVESTMENT
India and the EU agree to take positive steps to further increase bilateral trade and economic cooperation and to tackling barriers to trade and investment. Private sector contacts would also be further developed. While trade and investment flows between India and the EU have been increasing, they remain below potential. Therefore, to enhance economic cooperation the following steps are proposed:
HIGH LEVEL TRADE GROUP
India and the EU agree to establish a High Level Trade Group to study and explore ways and means to deepen and widen their bilateral trade and investment relationship. The Group will report to the next summit in 2006, including the possible launch of bilateral negotiations on a broad-based trade and investment agreement. Within this framework, and in order to increase investment in India and the EU, the scope of a possible investment agreement will be explored.
WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION (WTO)/DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA (DDA)
India and EU are committed to a successful outcome of the Hong Kong Ministerial in December 2005 and agree to move forward the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations to a successful conclusion as a matter of priority. In this respect both parties agree to continue their dialogue with a view to greater convergence in areas of mutual interest.
To this end the India and EU agree to strengthen their dialogue on the DDA negotiations which inter alia include Agriculture, Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA), Services, Trade Facilitation, Antidumping, Geographical Indications, Special and Differential Treatment, and Implementation, including as regards the relationship between Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and the Biodiversity Convention.
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP)
Both parties agree to initiate a discussion on Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and as a first step to exchange information and experiences with a view to, inter alia, enhancing investment in infrastructure. The two sides agree to set up an Expert Group to identify policy level changes required to promote PPP.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS (IPR)
India and the EU attach importance to achieving effective and comprehensive protection of geographical indications (GIs). As a first step, India and the EU shall exchange information on their respective GI protection regimes and hold an expert meeting on GIs in 2005 with a view to strengthening their technical cooperation on GIs.
Both parties agree to establish an appropriate dialogue to discuss IPR policy, regulatory issues, implementation and enforcement, as well as the general objectives and/or framework. To this end, both parties agree to establish a forum for a regular exchange of views and information on domestic regulatory policies and practices and enforcement issues. This forum shall also cover related technical assistance and capacity building initiatives.
TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO TRADE(TBT)/SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY (SPS) ISSUES
The two sides agreed to establish a TBT/SPS Working Group and to hold the first meeting before the end of 2005. This would deepen the dialogue on TBT and SPS issues respectively with a view to facilitating bilateral trade and increasing market access.
TRADE DEFENCE INSTRUMENTS
India and the EU have agreed to activate the expert meetings according to the already agreed terms of reference.
India and EU agree to exchange information and initiate a dialogue on regulatory policy including Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA’s) and domestic regulations and market access issues related to services. Priority areas should be agreed before the end of 2005.
Both parties agreed to exchange information on public procurement policies.
New Delhi, 7 September 2005