Tuesday March 20, 2018
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13th EU-India Summit: Focusing on strategic partnership

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Image source: dailyamin.com

Brussels, EU: The 13th EU-India Summit, a one-day event, is happening again. A news in itself, as opined by a senior Brussels-based diplomat.

It is well-known that India has partnered up with EU, projecting on them as the country’s largest export stop and topping the charts as India’s numero uno trade and investment partner.

The summit will be focusing on its strategic partnership for the next five years, which India and EU, has maintained since the year of 2004.

Though with the United Kingdom stressing on the limitations, it has struck against the Indians and other non-EU professionals and with the rest of the EU states demanding India to notch down the ‘high’ duties on vehicles, some of the experts are expressing their doubts about achieving the goal of the Free Trade Agreement in the near future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be having a discussion on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BIT). The scheme was launched back in 2007 but got stagnant after facing an amount of inhibitions in its path.

While returning to the track of political tensions along the lines of commercial relationships, there is to be an amalgamation of ministers particularly belonging to this sector.

According to an EU note:

“India has embarked on a process of economic reform and progressive integration with the global economy that aims to put in on a path of rapid and sustained growth. However, India’s trade regime and regulatory environment remain comparatively restrictive.”

India still maintains substantial tariff and non-tariff barriers that hinder trade with the EU. In addition to tariff barriers and imports, India also imposes a number of non-tariff barriers in the form of quantitative restrictions, import licensing, mandatory testing and certification for a large number of products as well as complicated and lengthy customs procedures.”

The dignitaries- the president of the European Council Donald Tusk, the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom and Mogherini, will be attending the summit where the recent Brussels attacks will be a point of discussion.

Finally, an evening on Wednesday will be dedicated to the issue of a diaspora by Modi, after which he will be departing for the Nuclear Security Summit at Washington DC. (Inputs from The Hindustan Times)

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Nepal, Pakistan agree to revitalise Saarc process

Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to revitalise the Saarc process for "greater peace, security and prosperity in the region"

  • Nepal and Pakistan agreed to revitalise Saarc
  • This is done to promote greater peace and security
  • It will be apparently beneficial for both the nations

Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to revitalise the Saarc process for “greater peace, security and prosperity in the region” during talks that visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held with the Himalayan nation’s leadership.

Nepal and Pakistan to revitalise SAARC process. Wikimedia Commons
Nepal and Pakistan to revitalise SAARC process. Wikimedia Commons

Abbasi on Tuesday met Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari and addressed a programme at the Saarc Secretariat here. He also held a meeting with CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” in the morning.

Bhandari and Abbasi hoped to reinvigorate the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) as an important regional organisation. The Pakistani leader said that “issues of the countries in the region should not affect the activities of Saarc and its performance”.

He emphasised the need to make Saarc “more effective” in the days ahead. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in all areas of mutual importance, including political, economic, defence and cultural fields.

On Monday evening, Abbasi met his Nepali counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli and both decided to revitalise the stalled Saarc process.

Also Read: India pulled out of SAARC meeting that is to be held in Pakistan

The Pakistani leader sought to host the 19th Saarc Summit of the regional grouping and asked Nepal to create a “favourable environment” for the same. The summit has been postponed since 2016 after a military attack on an Indian Army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the attack, India unilaterally suspended its participation from the summit. Several member states rallied behind India’s position.

Nepal is the current chair of the regional grouping. Oli’s chief political advisor Bishnu Rimal said “both leaders held a common view on taking the Saarc forum ahead as it was a common platform for all member countries and still significant”.

The step is taken to improve relationships between the two countries.

Addressing a function at the Saarc Secretariat in Kathmandu, Abbasi said peace, security and mutual friendship were essential for the prosperity of South Asia.

“Pakistan has undivided belief in the Saarc objectives, ideologies and principles,” he said, adding that Islamabad was fully committed to the Saarc charter.

Abbasi also announced doubling the scholarships provided to Nepal by the Pakistan government and proposed to set up a joint parliamentary panel between Kathmandu and Islamabad. IANS

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