M A I N   N E W S

India, EU to intensify fight against terror
Tony Blair’s Shimla visit cancelled
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 7
India and the European Union, holding their sixth annual summit here, today agreed to intensify their cooperation in the fight against terrorism and signed a “framework agreement” on Indian participation in Galileo, though the signing of the formal agreement had to be deferred because of unresolved differences.

British Prime Minister and the current EU Chairman Tony Blair, who was to hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Mashobra, near Shimla, tomorrow, has cancelled his Shimla visit because of bad weather and will hold this bilateral meeting in Udaipur, sources said.

Differences continued between India and EU on Indian participation in Galileo, the EU’s Global Navigation Satellite System worth 3.4 billion Euros but the fact that the two sides today signed the Framework Agreement on India’s participation in the project conveyed that the differences were not irreconcilable.

The Tribune understands that India is willing to pay $ 300 million as its equity for the Galileo project and wants for itself certain applications which have dual use. The EU wants to make sure that these areas of dual application are reserved for Europeans only.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, Secretary-General and High Representative Xavier Solana, EU External Relations Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson represented the EU at the summit.

On the question of terrorism, India came up with some “ambitious” suggestions, as Prime Minister Blair himself put it in his joint Press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Hyderabad House.

Mr Blair said: “The problem with terrorism is not just the people that commit the act of terrorism; it is those that support it, those that incite it, those that encouraged it. I think we have got to take a very strong stand on behalf of the international community and say we condemn this and we condemn it utterly...It is time we sent out a clear, unified message from the international community and said that it is no longer legitimate not merely in terms of committing acts of terrorism but in terms of supporting or inciting it.”

He said this can be done by making sure that there is proper intelligence cooperation, that Europol and the Central Bureau of Investigation cooperate properly together and areas of practical cooperation like attacking sources of money laundering and financing of terrorism are effectively addressed.

“The proposals from the Indian side are actually rightly ambitious in this regard. But these terrorists cross frontiers very easily and they do get access to funds as well as weapons and it is important that we are tackling every single aspect of this. So, I think that cooperation is important. But there is another area of cooperation as well which is also to talk about how we defeat the ideas and ideologies of these people.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh identified the adoption of a Joint Action Plan as the most important outcome of the summit. He said JAP would be the roadmap for identifying pathways to future cooperation, “an ambitious and unique document, the first such detailed action plan that we have drawn up.”

The Action Plan also covers several other areas on which the two sides are committed to work: Climate change, science and technology, research and development, enhanced parliamentary exchanges, greater people-to-people contact and dialogue related to migration and consular issues. Dr Manmohan Singh said the political declaration on the India-EU strategic partnership summed up the salient features of what the two wished to achieve together and added that at the top of the agenda was intensified political dialogue and cooperation for meeting common challenges and global threats, starting with terrorism.

“We have agreed that there is no place for terrorism in the civilised world and that we will work together towards fighting it. We have agreed on a detailed framework indicating how we will enhance our cooperation in this very important area... We will also establish a security dialogue on global and regional security issues, disarmament and nonproliferation.”

On India’s quest for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council, Dr Manmohan Singh said some countries’ opposition to the G4 Resolution does not necessarily imply opposition to India’s place on the expanded Security Council. “We have not given up and I sincerely hope that we can still sort out this issue.”

The Prime Minister also announced that India had today cleared the purchase of 43 Airbus aircraft for Indian Airlines which are going to cost $ 2.2 billion.

The Prime Minister made a specific reference to one of the irritants with the EU when he said New Delhi had urged the EU to revisit and review technology export control regimes that create a restrictive environment for technology transfers to India. “India’s impeccable record in the area of nonproliferation is well known and we hope that the EU will respond positively.

“The European Union welcomed the Indian participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. The Prime Minister thanked the EU for the Erasmus Mundus scholarship programme that has allocated 33 million Euros for students from India to study in the European Union.

European Commission President said the inclusion of India in the Galileo programme, and also the support that European Union promised to India as member of the ITER as two main aspects of “a very successful summit”.


Blair meets Sonia

New Delhi, September 7
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi this evening. External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh was also present at the meeting. — PTI


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