India, EU to foster cooperation in security, human rights

Human rights

In the wake of recent terror attacks in Brussels and growing number of refugees entering the EU, cooperation in human rights and security was a key focus area in the India-EU summit held on March 30 in Brussels. The summit was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The influx of refugees into the EU has raised questions over the basic human rights of these refugees. The EU recently reached a pact with Turkey on refugees. However, the deal has been dubbed as controversial by many experts.

During the India-EU summit, the two sides stressed on the need to give more importance to human rights. A joint statement released by India and EU said: Both sides underscored the importance they attach to human rights cooperation and expressed their intention to continue dialogue and enhance interaction in international fora, in particular the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council. The leaders highlighted the need for efforts to ensure gender equality and respect for women and girls human rights, fight against gender-based violence, and promote their empowerment in all spheres of life.

Many right wing groups in Europe have alleged that the terror attacks in the EU have increased due to the influx of refugees, and this has resulted in growing polarisation in the EU. The Brussels terror attacks was condemned by Mr Modi and he expressed solidarity with Belgium. The international community has called for a strong response to combat terror.

The EU and India renewed the 2010 ‘Joint Declaration on International Terrorism and decided to step up cooperation to counter violent extremism and radicalisation, the flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, sources of terrorist financing and arms supply. They agreed to enhance exchanges on finance, justice and police and called for action against entities and States that sponsor or support terrorist groups, according to the joint statement.

With a focus on enhancing cooperation in security between India and EU, the statement read: The EU and India expressed their resolve to enhance security cooperation, building on and strengthening existing EU-India working groups on cyber, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and non-proliferation and disarmament.

The two sides also reaffirmed the need to improve cyber cooperation, and shared the opinion that the Internet should remain open, secure and interoperable. India and EU asserted that it should be governed through a multi-stakeholder approach.

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