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Global partners for global challenges: The EU-India Joint Action Plan (JAP)
The EU-India Joint Action Plan (JAP) has now been working for three years. It has provided an agreed measure of progress, a mechanism for coordination and a spur to stronger cooperation.
The period since its adoption has been marked by worldwide growth of interdependence. Climate change, terrorism and instability remain as much of a threat as in 2005 and new challenges have arisen. The unprecedented pressure on energy and natural resources, including foodstuffs, poses new difficulties and calls for immediate action, as well as long-term structural measures.
In light of these challenges, and on the basis of the shared values expressed in the 2005 JAP, the EU and India will build on the achievements of the past three years and ensure further progress in the coming period.
Political dialogue and cooperation have been strengthened
Better political cooperation between the EU and India has been a notable achievement. Existing channels for dialogue have been consolidated since 2005, with a regular calendar of Summits, ministerial meetings, and expert level meetings on subjects such as human rights and consular issues. In addition, new channels have been established, such as the annual security dialogue. New formats for dialogue have also been created through Indian membership of ASEM and EU observer status at SAARC. The EU and India have also pursued issues of common concern within the framework of the United Nations including peacekeeping & peace building. In so far as cooperation between Europol and the CBI is concerned, it needs yet to be activated. The European and Indian Parliaments now have special delegations for promoting bilateral parliamentary relations.
Trade, investment and economic policy dialogue have expanded
In the last five years, trade has more than doubled, and bilateral investment has increased ten-fold. The parties launched negotiations for a bilateral trade and investment agreement in 2007. In specific policy dialogues on trade and investment, more progress has to be made.
New dialogues have been created on macroeconomic policy and on financial services, which underline the importance of financial and monetary stability, and of inclusive growth, in particular in the context of price rises associated with food, basic metals and energy.
Scientific and technical co-operation has developed
An EU-India Energy Panel has been established. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Agreement, to which both India and the EU are parties, has come into force. Science and technology activities have intensified and exchanges have been elevated to ministerial level, with increased co-operation across the board, shared partnerships with co-investment in research and technology development, and the renewal of the EU-India Science and Technology Agreement.
Co-operation on information and communications technologies continues to be strengthened, as indicated by the connection of the European high speed research network GEANT2 with its Indian counterpart ERNET, allowing European and Indian researchers to develop joint projects. The area of transport will benefit from the signature of a horizontal aviation agreement.
Co-operation and exchanges on pharmaceuticals and biotechnology have provided a better understanding of the complex issues in the sector. The two sides have made progress towards validating Ayurveda products as para-medicines or food supplements. In the field of employment and social affairs, there have been substantial activities under the sector policy dialogue and associated work programme.
Clean development and climate change needs more concrete activities involving all stakeholders. The maritime agreement discussions are yet to come to fruition. In space technology, dialogue between the two sides needs to be further strengthened. In global navigation satellite systems, the EU-India agreement on Galileo has yet to be finalised.
Cultural and people-to-people links have deepened
Specific funding has been made available to increase the participation of Indian students in European graduate programmes. The Community Culture Programme has launched a special action for EU-India cultural co-operation for the period 2007-2009. Work continues on promoting civil society exchanges and people-to- people interaction in diverse fields. There is a need for more progress in the area of culture and in the shared ambition of establishing chairs of study in both partners' academic institutions. Further effort is needed to facilitate the movement of persons, based on a comprehensive approach to migration issues.
The EU and India identified the following new activities to complement the 2005 India-EU Joint Action Plan, with the objective of promoting international peace and security and working together towards achieving economic progress, prosperity and sustainable development: