India wants “greater urgency” and “faster movement” in negotiations with the European Union (EU) for trade and investment pacts, though there are challenges such as the demands of the 27-member bloc and non-trade issues, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday.
Jaishankar made the remarks while participating in a virtual conversation with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian that focused on EU-India partnership in the Indo-Pacific during the French presidency of the bloc. Le Drian announced France will host a ministerial forum on the Indo-Pacific on February 22 to come up with concrete proposals for cooperation in security and defence, connectivity and digital, and global challenges.
The two foreign ministers spoke extensively on cooperation between India and France within the Indo-Pacific region on a wide range of issues, including Covid-19 vaccines, regulations for the blue economy, connectivity projects that are transparent and respect sovereignty, and promoting regional peace and stability.
When Jaishankar was asked by the moderator of the discussion about India-EU negotiations for trade and investment agreements, he cited two specific challenges in the case of the European bloc – the involvement so 27 countries, and the need to “harmonise and prioritise” their demands and some non-trade issues.