Today she held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, and the Minister of State for External Affairs, M J Akbar. Mogherini also opened the EU@60 Treaty of Rome Exhibition at the Italian Institute of Culture as part of the celebrations around the 60th anniversary of the European Union.
The visit provided an opportunity to discuss a broad range of issues: from the regional and international crises we collectively face to free and fair trade, as well as on matters of security and defence – notably on maritime security.
In an interview with The Times of India ahead of her visit, Mogherini stressed the need to intensify cooperation in view of the magnitude of the challenges ahead, whilst reflecting on the already close partnership of the European Union and India in many areas including intensive cooperation on counter terrorism to joint efforts in the fields of sustainable development and climate change. Whether it is in response to threats from radicalisation and terrorism, regional instability and conflict, or global warming – "global issues require common responses", she said.
In many ways the EU and India are natural partners, sharing common values and interest such as democracy, multilateralism, free and fair trade and sustainable development. Closer cooperation between the European Union and India holds great opportunities.
With work ongoing to conclude a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement, the EU accounts for 13.5% of India’s overall trade, which makes it the country's largest trading partner. Mogherini said that even after the UK leaves the European Union, the EU will remain "the most relevant partner for India [… and] will continue to be a global security provider, the biggest market on earth, the largest development donor". "We will continue to be a global power and a reliable partner for our friends around the world, including India."
Building on the 13th EU-India Summit in Brussels in 2016 and ahead of the 14th bilateral India-EU Summit to be held in New Delhi later this year, the EU and India both expressed a strong desire to further strengthen and deepen their bilateral relations, both on an institutional level, extending political and institutional cooperation, and economic level, deepening trade links and integration by exploring the possibilities to conclude a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement to further deepen the ties between the world's largest democracy and the world's biggest common market.