India, EU hold first-ever security, defence consultations

New Delhi: 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.

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