EU sees India as very important strategic partner

February 28th, 2008 - 11:58 pm ICT by admin  

Brussels, Feb 28 (IANS) India is a very important strategic partner for the European Union, a top EU official has said, pointing out that the two sides were working closely together in politics, trade, development and global issues. European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner has described EU-India ties as “excellent”.

“India is a very important strategic partner for us and we are working on all the different fronts with India,” she said at a press conference here Wednesday.

The commissioner said an important EU-India Troika meeting will soon be held, reported EuAsiaNews news agency.

“We are not only working in the political dialogue but also on trade as an important partner,” said Ferrero-Waldner.

She pointed out that the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, is running big water and education projects in Rajasthan.

“Of course we are working in research areas where we think we have an excellent partner, India, but also in the big global questions like climate change and energy security,” she said.

Replying to a question on the recently held parliamentary elections in Pakistan, she said the report prepared by the EU election observation team noted that the polls complied with international standards.

“Of course they noted some deficiencies and those deficiencies have to be addressed by the future government,” said Ferrero-Waldner, a former foreign minister of Austria.

She said it would be particularly important to follow the recommendations of this EU election observation mission.

“We do hope that the new government will take up the recommendations because they will enhance the democratic stability of the country,” the commissioner said.

Meanwhile, the members of the European Parliament (EP) who monitored Pakistan’s Feb 18 general election praised Pakistani voters and election officials who braved the threat of violence.

In a report to the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee Tuesday, members on the observer mission said the poll took place in a positive atmosphere although there were irregularities.

The EU sent a large observation mission to Pakistan, headed by German MEP Michael Gahler. It was made up of 131 observers from 23 EU countries and was present in Pakistan from December onwards.

During their mission they reported finding evidence that local authorities primarily favoured the former ruling parties during the campaign. There was also some disorder and some procedural irregularities.

The EU election team will issue its final report in mid-April.

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