EU warns of collapsing Pakistan, upbeat about India tiesJuly 1st, 2009 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS
By Manish Chand
New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Warning of the “danger of the collapse of Pakistan” to the region, the European Union (EU) plans to expand cooperation with India in countering terrorism, with the EU’s counter-terror coordinator expected in New Delhi soon.
“Terrorism is a matter of great concern. We want more cooperation with India in countering terrorism,” Swedish Ambassador to India Lars-Olof Lindgren told IANS in an interview Wednesday, the day Stockholm took over the six-month rotating presidency of the 27-member EU.
“Our cooperation with India in countering terrorism is stronger than before. We plan to cooperate at various levels,” the Swedish envoy said when asked about the EU’s priorities for its forthcoming summit with India Nov 6 in New Delhi.
The EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerkove is set to visit India soon, the envoy said.
The envoy, however, trod cautiously on the EU’s aid to Pakistan amid reports that such financial assistance, like the one given by the US, had been allegedly used by Islamabad in the past to fund anti-India terrorist activities.
“A democratic and stable Pakistan is in the interests of all of us. It’s a danger to the region if Pakistan is collapsing,” he replied when asked what India and the EU can do to stop terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
“The only way out is to support capabilities of the government to control their own territory and not to allow it to host militant outfits,” he said when asked about Pakistan’s tardy response in bringing the Mumbai attackers to justice.
Last month, the EU held its first summit with Pakistan and offered $100 million aid, trade concessions and help in the area of counterterrorism. The EU had pledged 485 million euros for Pakistan over five years at an international donors’ conference in April.
Spelling out key priorities of the Swedish presidency of the EU, the Swedish envoy said the focus will be on forging a collective response to dealing with the global financial crisis, working for a coherent European position on a major climate deal at the conference in Copenhagen in December, promoting clean energy and enlargement of the EU.
Conjuring up a robust picture of the burgeoning India-EU partnership, the envoy said negotiations on a broad-based trade and investment pact are set to get “a major momentum” in days to come. Bilateral trade between India and EU is estimated to be over $50 billion. The two sides agreed to double bilateral trade in another five years at the last summit in Marseilles.
“India is an important partner. There is a huge potential waiting to be tapped. Under the Swedish presidency, we hope the India-EU ties will scale new heights,” said the Swedish envoy.
“We will continue to make EU better known in India not just as an economic bloc, but as a political force as well,” he stressed.
–Ind-Asian News Service
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