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Build bigger, 'more political' embassy in India, UK tells EU

Source: PTI
March 07, 2010 15:52 IST
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UK and Sweden have asked the European Union to set up bigger and "more political" embassies in India, China and Pakistan to strengthen its relationships with these Asian countries.

British foreign minister David Miliband and his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt, in a joint letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, asked the bloc to create "larger and more political" delegations in the capitals of India, Pakistan, China, Brazil and Indonesia.

"Although our relationship with the US will remain the most important, we firmly believe that our ability to be part of shaping the world of tomorrow is critically dependent on our ability to deepen and broaden our relationship with these states," they said.

The letter was written before an informal EU foreign ministers' meeting last Friday in Cordoba, Spain, which debated the structure of the union's new External Action Service.

The list of five countries in the letter is said to be indicative, with EU diplomats saying that Russia and South Africa are also being targeted for a larger EU presence.

The EU and India benefit from a longstanding relationship going back to the early 1960s.

The Joint Political Statement of 1993 and the 1994 Co-operation Agreement, which is the current legislative framework for cooperation, opened the door to a broad political dialogue, which evolves through annual summits, regular ministerial and expert level meetings.

In 2004, India became one of the EU's Strategic Partners.

Since 2005, the Joint Action Plan, which was revised in 2008, is helping to realise the full potential of this partnership in key areas of interest for India and the EU.

Current EU-India efforts are centred on the ongoing negotiations for a trade and investment agreement; finalisation of ongoing transport negotiations (maritime transport) and implementation of the joint work programme on climate change adopted at the last summit in 2008.
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