The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday saying that the EU and India are the world’s two largest democracies, jointly committed to the promotion of peace, stability, security, prosperity and social justice, and calling for a stronger and deeper partnership between them.
It also highlighted potential areas for closer cooperation, such as trade, security, the fight against terrorism, migration and mobility, the transfer of technology, culture, climate change, development, energy, water and data protection.
The resolution notes that the EU is India’s largest trading partner and urged both parties to conclude free trade talks, in motion since 2007, as soon as possible. European and India citizens could benefit from this agreement, as it could also help to fight poverty and promote the respect for human rights, it said.
The EU Parliament, however, voiced concern “about the effects on freedom of expression and association of the current Indian law on foreign participation in the funding of NGOs” and notes that “caste-based discrimination continues to be a source of abuse”.
It also called for the restart of EU-India human rights dialogues, which have not taken place since 2013.
The resolution on EU’s political relations with India was adopted by 520 votes to 73, with 86 abstentions.
The rapporteur of the resolution, Cristian Dan Preda said: “The European Parliament fully supports a truly strategic partnership with India, as the full potential of this relationship has not been developed. Trade, the fight against terrorism and radicalisation, reducing conflicts and increasing prosperity in Asia are some of the areas to be pursued.”