Commission President Romano Prodi said: “EU-India relations are witnessing an important up-swing. I look forward to launching the Strategic Partnership with India and hope that we can make substantial progress in its design at the Summit”
The European Commission proposed in its Communication of 16 June (endorsed in Council Conclusions of 11 October) to up-grade the EU’s relationship with India to a Strategic Partnership. This has been warmly welcomed by India, which responded through its own strategy paper. The 5th EU-India Summit will examine political and economic areas for greater co-operation between the EU and India, as set out in these two documents, and will formally open a new chapter in relations. The Summit will task officials on both sides to produce an Action Plan and a new Joint EU India Political Declaration to be approved at the 6th Summit in India in 2005.
The EU has proposed concrete steps in four key areas:
- Co-operation, particularly in multilateral fora, on conflict prevention, the fight against terrorism, and non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Strengthened economic partnership through sectoral and regulatory policy dialogues
- Co-operation on development policy to help India meet the Millennium Goals
- Fostering intellectual and cultural exchanges .
In addition, it is hoped that the Summit will agree
- the first-ever EU-India Cultural declaration;
- the creation of an India-EU energy panel,
- the launch of a € 33 million Erasmus Mundus Window for some 1000 Indian students to receive a scholarship for post-graduate studies in Europe.
- the creation of joint workshops in automotive engineering, genomics and life sciences and nanotechnology
- an EU-India Environment Conference.
Trade and Investment are a cornerstone of EU-India relations: the EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for one fourth of India’s imports and exports, and it is the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment. The EU-India Summit will be followed by an EU-India Business Round Table which will gather senior business leaders from both countries to discuss issues of strategic business interest.
The 5th Summit will confirm science and technology as a major growth area in EU-India co operation: The EU and India are working towards India's participation in the Galileo satellite positioning and navigation system. The European Space Agency (ESA) will now co-operate with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in developing the country’s unmanned lunar exploratory mission, Chandrayaan-1. Indian and European scientists will also be able to exchange information on research and development in general through closed information networks.