European Parliament’s interest in India growing

By Indo-Asian News Service

Brussels: The European Parliament is increasingly showing interest in India, said a British MP here.

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Charles Tannock, re-elected as co-chairman of the informal parliamentary group “Friends of India in the European Parliament”, Wednesday hosted a reception to introduce the office-bearers of the body.

The function of the group is to promote India and provide a vehicle for visiting Indian officials, dignitaries and parliamentarians to meet Members of European Parliament (MEPs), Tannock told the news agency INEPNEXT.

He said the presence of MEPs from various political groups and nationalities in the Friend of India group shows the increasing interest in India of the European Parliament.

“It is a very healthy sign and demonstrates the increasing interest in India, a huge country with whom we share so much in common, respect of democracy, common values, honouring human rights,” he said.

Tannock, who is foreign affairs spokesman for the British Conservative delegation and also vice-president of the European Parliament’s human rights subcommittee, said the European Union was the largest democratic grouping in the world with 500 million people and 27 member states.

“As we raise our profile in the international arena, there will be more and more Indian officials, dignitaries and politicians visiting Brussels.

“It would be very helpful if there was an equivalent body like Friends of the European Union formed in the Indian parliament,” he noted.

Another British member, Neena Gill, has been chosen as the patron of the group.

Neena spoke highly of the Indian diplomats in Brussels responsible for European Parliament affairs.

Gill, of Indian origin, is also chairperson of the formal European Parliamentary body called “Delegation for Relations with India”.

Rakesh Kapila, an Indian businessman and vice-president of the Brussels-based Euro-India Chamber of Commerce (EICC) and GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin), pledged full support to the Friends of India Group for boosting EU-India relations.

EICC and GOPIO President Sunil Prasad, who is currently visiting India, has been appointed general secretary of the Friends of India Group.