Highlighting that developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan affect India more than anyone else, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said India had a vital stake in peace and stability in the region. Singh asked the international community to stay the course in ensuring this.
The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan-Pakistan region was discussed during the 10th India-EU Summit here during which the two sides expressed keenness to step up cooperation in counter-terrorism.
At the Summit meeting, Singh, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country is the current Chair of the EU, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Borosso, also deliberated on the difficulties that have beset talks on a broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement and expressed hope that the pact would be finalised within a year.
The two sides also discussed climate change issue, international financial crisis and other global challenges.
On terrorism, India and the 27-nation EU agreed to cooperate in countering the "serious threat" to world peace as they took stock of the situation in Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
"We are in this region, what happens in Afghanistan, what happens in Pakistan affects us much more intimately than other countries in the world. So, we have a vital stake in peace, stability and progress not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan," Singh said at a joint press conference with Reinfeldt and Borosso.
The Prime Minister said the two sides emphasised the need for concerted international action to combat terrorism as they reviewed the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Appreciating efforts of the international community to stablise Afghanistan, he said, "It is our sincere hope that the international community will stay the course, recognising the problems that are so obvious in Afghanistan and which require corrective approaches on part of international community."
The Swedish Prime Minister said India and EU stand united in combating terrorism "which is serious threat to international peace and human rights."
Describing India as a key player at international scene in fight against terrorism, Borosso said, "Our (EU) effort will be for stabilisation of Afghanistan and Pakistan."
He said the EU has adopted a plan for raising the level of engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan in this regard.
On cooperation between India and EU in countering terrorism, Singh said India and EU agreed to work towards early finalisation of an agreement between Europol (European Police) and its Indian counterpart.
With regard to climate change, Singh emphasised the importance of working together to meet the challenge but made it clear that India had not quantified the precise targets of greenhouse gas emissions.
To a question, he said India had explored the possibility of fixing targets but could not reach that. PTI