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Will a India-EU trade breakthrough happen?
Oct 12, 2017

It was a summit based on huge expectations on both sides, the first between the leaders of India and the European Union since Brexit. The meeting was rich in symbolism, marking 55 years of diplomatic relations between the world's two largest democracies. Political goodwill and determination to overcome road blocks were evident in the body language and statements emanating from the leaders, with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, quoting Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore: It is important for the two sides to swim in the same direction despite their differences.
Held in the shadow of repeated terrorist strikes in a continent which had once prided itself on its liberal democratic values, the Joint Summit Statement represented a political breakthrough on several issues. It was complemented by separate statements on combating terrorism, on clean energy and climate change, and on smart and sustainable urbanisation. The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, underlined: We are the world's two largest democracies. We are two of the world's biggest economies. We share the same values and the belief that freedom, equality, tolerance and the rule of law. Working together with a like-minded partner like India simply makes sense. It is natural.
Informed sources have indicated that many sensitive issues relating to India's neighbourhood, including threats to India from jehadi terrorist groups based in Pakistan, the situation in Afghanistan and the potential for regional destabilisation by the flight of the Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh, were discussed at summit level in a free and frank atmosphere.

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