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ECR

Fresh Impulse to relations with India

16 October 2014

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, Vice Chairman of the ECR group, was today (16 October) elected Chairman of the key European Parliament Delegation for Relations with India. This comes as the strategic and trade relationship between India and European countries assumes increasing importance on both sides.

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, Vice Chairman of the ECR group, was today (16 October) elected Chairman of the key European Parliament Delegation for Relations with India. This comes as the strategic and trade relationship between India and European countries assumes increasing importance on both sides.

High on the list of priorities will be the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between the EU and India, the negotiations for which began in June 2007 but still lack agreement.

Mr Van Orden has a long association with India and has met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a number of occasions when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Mr Van Orden commented: “As we see the growth of autocratic power in many parts of the world, our relationship with the world’s largest democracy must be very high on our priorities. Fortunately, I have a long and very happy association with India going back to my days as a British Army Officer when I was fortunate to attend the Indian Defence Services Staff College. I lived there with my young family and our love of India stems from those days. I have maintained strong connections and friendships ever since. Most recently I have been Chairman of the Europe-India Chamber of Commerce.

“India has particularly strong links with my own country, the United Kingdom, and British Prime Minister David Cameron has placed emphasis on improving Britain’s strategic and trading position with India. Many European countries, not least Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands, are seeking to enhance their relations with India”.

“I know how much importance Prime Minister Modi attaches to accelerating the pace of Indian economic growth and social reform and the relationship with Europe will be a vital part of this. We have an excellent Delegation which includes members from across the political spectrum and from some 16 countries. Naturally there will be differing perspectives on many issues. I shall now work hard with our national governments, with the EU institutions, with representatives of the Government of India, and with chambers of commerce, trade associations, and NGOs to give a fresh, positive impulse to the relationship between Europe and India.”

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