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Friday Oct 06 2017

EU-India Summit: Human rights in IoK not on agenda

NEW DELHI: The 14th Summit between the European Union and India was held on Friday in New Delhi marking 55 years of diplomatic relations between the world's two largest democracies, said an EU press statement, however the grave violations of human rights in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) were not on the agenda of the summit.

The EU was represented at the summit by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. India was represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini also attended the conference.

Despite the fact the EU pays great attention to human rights in all cases, the matter of grave violations by the Indian forces in IoK was not part of the agenda of EU-India Summit.

Not a single time EU leaders mentioned right abuses in IoK, where nearly 100,000 Kashmiris have been martyred since the popular uprising against the Indian rule and thousands others have been blinded because of frequent use of pellet-guns by Indian troops.

The EU and India have issued a joint statement on combating terrorism, clean energy and climate change, and smart and sustainable urbanisation, according to the statement. Leaders also took stock of the implementation of the comprehensive EU-India Agenda for Action 2020, endorsed at last year's Summit.

"We are the world's two largest democracies. We are two of the world's biggest economies. We share the same values and the belief that freedom, equality, tolerance and the rule of law. Working together with a like-minded partner like India simply makes sense. It is natural", said the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

"We agreed that we should take our trading relationship to the next level. It is high time for a Free Trade Agreement between India and the EU. Once the circumstances are right – and only once the circumstances are right – we will resume. Today's summit is an important step in the right direction and after hearing Prime Minister Modi, I am confident we can move forward. Our chief negotiators will next sit down in November to chart a way forward."

EU President Donald Tusk on Friday urged Myanmar to adhere to its international rights obligations and allow Rohingya refugees to return after weeks of violence that have forced more than half a million to flee to Bangladesh.

Tusk said Myanmar must give aid workers access to the troubled state of Rakhine, where the Rohingya ethnic minority says the military are burning their villages.

He made the comments after talks with Indian leaders in New Delhi, which he said was first in line to respond to the refugee crisis as a neighbouring country.

"The EU continues to assume its responsibilities by receiving people in need of protection and by assisting host countries close to the conflict zones," said Tusk after the talks.

"We addressed the situation in Myanmar and the Rohingya refugee crisis. We want to see de-escalation of tension and the full adherence to international human rights obligations as well as full humanitarian access so the aid can reach those in need."

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the summit had been an "important step in the right direction" towards an agreement, but gave no time frame for progress.

The EU is India's largest trading partner, accounting for more than 13 percent of the country's commerce.


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