New Delhi [India], April 14 (ANI): President of the European Council Charles Michel reffered to the friendship and partnership between India and the European Union as the "cornerstone" of the bloc's policy adding New Delhi and Brussels share the "same multilateralist DNA".
Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue, Michel said in a world that is more interconnected, more competitive and less stable, like-minded countries tend to look out for each other and join forces.
The council president reitierated Brussels' call for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. "In many ways, the path of the future world order will be set in the Indo-Pacific region. This region has become a global economic and political centre of gravity, and the EU is closely linked to it, through trade, investment and mobility," Michel said.
"We have a large stake in its freedom, openness and stability. The EU is about to set out for the first time a comprehensive, strategic approach to your region," he added.
Being two of the largest democracies, he said Brussels and New Delhi "can and should do much more".
"We value human rights, equal opportunities, gender equality, and the rule of law. We share the same multilateralist DNA. The EU is the result of a patient association of sovereign countries. We are united by our will to join forces and cooperate, based on commonly agreed rules."
Michel also called for India and the EU to "maximise the untapped potential of trade and investment between our two major economies."
On the subject of COVID-19 vaccine production, he said the most pressing challenge is COVID-19 and the production of vaccines and their delivery to all regions and countries of the world.
Both India and Europe are major producers of vaccines, he stated. Together, through Covax, "we also support low and middle income countries in their vaccination efforts. Thanks to our joint efforts, Covax has delivered more than 38 million doses to 100 countries across the globe."
"We all need each other: for components, equipment, and fill and finish vials, for instance. This is why we must make sure that our supply chains remain open and resilient. This includes expanding global manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector, as well as in developing countries," Michel added.
On the issue of climate change, the president said he sees India as a key partner. He reiterated that fighting climate change and stopping the loss of biodiversity require the leadership of all major economies.
"This is why we are striving for a joint EU-India commitment to green growth, circular economy and clean energy. These will be needed all over the world and will create jobs and economic opportunities," he said.
The EU is not just an economic partner, he said adding that the bloc is determined to play its role in the security of the Indo-Pacific region.
"We are engaged in securing peace in Afghanistan. We call for restoring the democratic process in Myanmar. On Iran, the EU played a key role and we remain a strong defender of the JCPOA (the Iran Nuclear Deal)... Our friendship, and partnership with India, is a cornerstone of our geopolitical strategy. We are determined to further develop the ties between our peoples. It is in our common interest to show that the democratic and open model is the most powerful one to address the challenges of the world," he stated.
The 9th India-EU Human Rights dialogue was held here on Monday wherein the two sides reiterated their commitment to the shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights.
The Human Rights Dialogue was co-chaired by the Joint Secretary for Europe West in the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Sandeep Chakravorty, and the Ambassador of the European Union to India, Ugo Astuto, the MEA informed in a statement. (ANI)