EU-India ties grow into strategic partnership


New Delhi : Portuguese envoy to India, Luis Filipe Castro Mendes has said, "European Union (EU) will look for a "robust strategic partnership" with India under Portuguese presidency and continue to share its experience of economic integration with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

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Portugal took over the presidency of the EU from Germany July 1, 2007.

EU in general and Portugal in particular will put the focus on Asia and Africa.

Portugal was also ready to help India forge better ties with the Portuguese-speaking African countries like Angola and Mozambique, Mendes told reporters here.

Mendes said, "The EU? India ties are now growing into a robust strategic partnership, between two partners sharing the values of democracy, pluralism, respect for human rights, multi-lateralism, international peace, market economy and social cohesion."
On the external front, the EU was focusing southwards and eastwards and trying to give the BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) economies a greater importance in Europe's external relations.

Under Portuguese presidency, the EU-China Summit and the EU-India Summit will be held in November, 2007.

In December, the EU-Africa Summit will be held in Lisbon.

Portugal will be re-starting it after a gap of seven years.

The last EU-Africa Summit was held in Cairo, also under Portuguese presidency.

"This (EU-Africa Summit) can assume special significance for the emerging Indian interests in Africa.

The EU, and particularly Portugal with its historical experience and special relationship with the continent, will be most interested in working in partnership with India to cooperate with Africa, including naturally the Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Angola and Mozambique," he said.