In a significant move, India and the European Union have discussed increasing maritime security cooperation and the prospect of co-development and co-production of defence equipment. The deliberations took place at the first-ever India-EU Security and Defence Consultations held in Brussels pursuant to a decision taken at the India-EU summit in July 2020.
The Indian Embassy in the Belgium capital said India's participation in Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) also figured in the talks on Friday.It said the wide-ranging discussions on Friday covered the evolving security situation in Europe, India's neighbourhood and the Indo-Pacific. PESCO is a part of the EU's security and defence policy. Its establishment in December 2017 has raised cooperation on defence among the participating EU member states to a new level.
The embassy said the two sides noted a number of positive developments in the area of security and defence cooperation in recent years, including the establishment of a regular maritime security dialogue. "During the consultations, the two sides also discussed various means of increasing India-EU cooperation on maritime security, implementation of the European code of conduct on arms export to India's neighbourhood, cooperation in co-development and co-production of defence equipment, including India's participation in PESCO," it said in a statement. "Both sides agreed to increase India-EU defence and security cooperation as an important pillar of the bilateral strategic relations," it said. The talks took place under the shadow of the crisis in Ukraine.
(With PTI Inputs)