NEW YORK: India and France have decided that it is essential to make progress in the India-EU bilateral investment treaty to increase trade. The European Union is India’s largest trading partner but despite efforts to sign a bilateral investment treaty for years now, the two have failed to make any significant progress.
This prickly issue came up for discussion once again at a bilateral meeting between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and France’s President Francois Hollande, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on September 28.
The discussions between India and EU hit a roadblock after 700 drugs were stopped. EU is likely to host the India-EU summit in November and speculations about Mr Modi attending the event were doing the rounds.
Discussing the bilateral investment between India and EU, Mr Modi said he wanted the process to continue as expeditiously as possible. The two leaders also spoke about the global climate conference, COP-21, to be held in Paris later this year, and the world reaching an agreement in December 2015 when the conference takes place.
France appreciated and welcomed India’s decision to declare its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), on October 2. Mr Hollande had recently said a deal in Paris is unlikely as Climate Finance, a major point of contention between the developed and developing countries, hasn’t been extended beyond 2020 and said that would make or break the deal.
France, like most other developed countries expects India to play a lead role among the developing countries to help clinch a deal in December. The two sides also discussed terrorism and security in the light of extremist groups like Islamic State. Mr Modi spoke about the need for the world to adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
Dropping in at the meeting between Mr Modi and Mr Hollande was Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and current head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr Gates spoke about climate change with the two leaders and the upcoming COP-21 conference and spoke about the role the private sector could play in fighting climate change on areas such as mitigation and adaptation.