Tag Archives: India

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decisions 94/578/EC, 95/129/EC, 96/354/EC, 2001/332/EC and 2004/870/EC concerning the conclusion of the cooperation agreements between the European Community, of the one part, and of the other part, the Republic of India, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Kingdom of Nepal, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, respectively.


Between 1994 and 2004, the European Union (EU) concluded five similar cooperation agreements with five countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

These agreements aim to develop the cooperation ties between the partners, while ensuring a respect for human rights and promoting democratic principles.

The main cooperation objectives concern:

  • trade, with the aim of increasing, diversifying and liberalising trade. Therefore, the parties must improve the opening up of their respective markets, and enhance their cooperation in customs matters in accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • economy, in order to improve the business environment, dialogue between economic operators, information exchange, and entrepreneur training;
  • sustainable development, specifically for social progress and combating poverty. The EU must support the progress of partners in the fields of health, education, improving the standard of living, and promoting the role of women in society;
  • the development of human resources, vocational qualifications and the promotion of international standards on decent work;
  • rural development, increasing trade in agricultural, fisheries and farmed products, including the improvement of sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The Agreements also provide specific objectives depending on the different needs of the country for:

  • scientific and technological cooperation, which should lead to improvements in the technical assistance with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh’s quality and control standards, and the launching of joint research projects, the mobility of researchers, and exchanges of scientific information (particularly in the fields of bio-technology, new materials and geosciences) with India;
  • environmental protection, particularly to support Pakistan and Nepal in natural resource management, erosion and deforestation; Bangladesh for reducing the risks of natural disasters; Sri Lanka for preventing industrial pollution, and India for drafting and implementing environmental legislation, research and training;
  • improving the environment for private investment with India, Nepal and Sri Lanka;
  • developing industry and services with India and Pakistan;
  • protecting intellectual property rights with India and Sri Lanka;
  • cooperation in the fields of information, culture and communications with Pakistan and Bangladesh;
  • promoting the energy sector with India, Pakistan and Nepal, recognising the importance of the energy sector for their economic and social development;
  • combating drug trafficking and money laundering, particularly with Pakistan and Bangladesh using special measures against the production and trafficking of drugs, and also the prevention of drug abuse;
  • tourism with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, particularly through studies and information exchange.


SAARC is a regional cooperation organisation, established in 1985 in order to accelerate the economic and social development of its Member States. These Member States are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The EU has observer member status in the organisation, as does Burma/Myanmar, China, South Korea, the United States, Iran, Japan and Mauritius.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 94/578/EC Republic of India


OJ L 223 of 27.8.1994

Decision 95/129/EC the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka


OJ L 85 of 19.4.1995

Decision 2004/870/EC, Islamic Republic of Pakistan


OJ L 378 of 23.12.2004

Decision 2001/332/EC People’s Republic of Bangladesh


OJ L 118 of 27.4.2001

Decision 96/354/EC Kingdom of Nepal


OJ L 137 of 8.6.1996

Related Acts

Communication concerning the entry into force, in trade between the European Community and the countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of the provisions laid down in Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1602/2000, concerning the definition of the concept of ‘originating products’ for the purpose of applying tariff preferences granted by the Community to certain products from developing countries (regional cumulation of origin)) [OJ C 265 of 15.9.2000].

EU-India Strategic Partnership

EU-India Strategic Partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU-India Strategic Partnership


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

EU-India Strategic Partnership

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 16 June 2004: An EU-India Strategic Partnership [COM(2004) 430) final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The EU and India already enjoy a close relationship based on shared values and mutual respect. In recent years, the relationship has developed exponentially in terms of shared vision, goals and challenges. Against this background the Commission proposes a new strategy based on the following objectives:

  • international cooperation through multilateralism, including promoting peace, combating terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and human rights;
  • enhanced commercial and economic interaction, in particular through sectoral dialogue and dialogue on regulatory and industrial policy;
  • cooperation on sustainable development, protecting the environment, mitigating climate change and combating poverty;
  • continuous improvement of mutual understanding and contacts between the EU’s and India’s civil society.

International cooperation

Since the EU and India are seen as forces for global stability, the focus of relations has shifted from trade to wider political issues. The Commission proposes a strategic alliance to enhance relations with India and promote an effective multilateral approach.

India is an important partner in conflict prevention. The EU should therefore explore means of formalising regular cooperation with India in this area. The Commission wishes to step up political dialogue on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and proposes setting up dialogue on export control measures.

Real cooperation should be established on combating terrorism and organised crime.

The EU is strongly committed to peace and stability in South Asia and encourages dialogue between India and Pakistan.

Economic partnership

The EU is India’s largest trading partner and main source of foreign inward investment, whereas India is only the EU’s 14th trading partner. India needs to further open up its market and accelerate market reform to realise the potential of its market. It must address such matters as customs tariffs and the many non-tariff trade barriers, as well as considerably improving its infrastructure.

The strategic dialogue should address regulatory and industrial policy to improve business competitiveness on both sides. India and the EU should also promote cooperation on the world’s major environmental challenges such as biodiversity, climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer.

In many areas, dialogue with India has already made considerable progress. Strategic sectoral dialogues should be developed in the following areas:

  • the information society;
  • transport;
  • energy;
  • biotechnology;
  • the Galileo programme (the European global satellite navigation system);
  • a space partnership.

The EU and India must start dialogue on investment, intellectual property rights and trade defence instruments. The EU has an interest in enhancing cooperation with India on technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary issues. The EU-India customs cooperation agreement should also be exploited and sustainable development and South Asian regional cooperation should be promoted.

There is enormous potential for EU-India collaboration in science and technology. Indian researchers should be encouraged to participate in the EU’s 6th Framework Programme.

The EU should invite India to regularly attend ministerial level consultations on subjects of mutual interest in the field of monetary and financial policy.

Development cooperation

The EU must help India to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Coordination with other EU donors needs to be improved. The EU could also share its experience of social security systems.

Mutual understanding

The European and Indian Parliaments are considering organising regular, institutionalised parliamentary exchanges. In terms of culture, cooperation in all disciplines should be reinforced. All Member States and institutions should cooperate and coordinate their activities to inform Indian public opinion. The Government of India should be encouraged to visit EU institutions as often as possible and devise its own communications strategy.

Institutional architecture

EU-Indian partnership is based on the 1994 Cooperation Agreement and the Joint Political Declaration of 1993. The first Lisbon summit of 2000 was also key to the development of bilateral relations. The Commission proposes a number of initiatives to streamline the structure of the partnership.

Implementation and follow-up

The Commission hopes that this Communication will be a starting point for collective reflection on how to improve EU-India relations. The proposals emerging from such reflection could serve as the basis for an action plan and a new EU-Indian joint political declaration. Both could be endorsed at the Sixth EU-India Summit in 2005.


India is an increasingly important international player and regional power with an impressive economic growth rate. Since the first EU-India summit held in Lisbon in 2000, EU relations with India have progressed in political, geopolitical, economic and trade terms.

Related Acts

Joint Action Plan adopted at the Sixth EU-India Summit at Delhi, 7 September 2005.

The current Joint Action Plan should be seen in the context of the 2004 Hague Summit. Its primary objective is to develop EU-India relations in the context of a strategic partnership. Its specific aim is to encourage the EU and India to:

  • consolidate their mechanisms for dialogue and consultation mechanisms;
  • deepen dialogue and cooperation on political and economic matters;
  • develop trade and investments;
  • improve relations between their peoples and cultures.

Joint Press Statement from the Fifth India-EU Summit (FR ) at The Hague, 8 November 2004.

The Indian and European authorities highlight the progress made in strengthening EU-Indian relations, in particular after the 2004 communication on the EU-Indian strategic partnership, followed by the Council’s conclusions of 11 October 2004. They also reiterate that their partnership is based on a solid foundation of shared values and convictions and their commitment to democracy, pluralism, the rule of law and multilateralism in international relations, which contribute stability and peace in the world. Finally, they wish to strengthen their partnership through more intensive dialogue.

Agreement with India

Agreement with India

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreement with India


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Fight against fraud > Fight against counterfeiting

Agreement with India

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2004/633/EC of 30 March 2004 concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of India on customs cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters.


The aim of the Agreement is to facilitate effective cooperation between the administrative authorities responsible for applying customs legislation *. This is achieved by establishing channels of communication between the customs authorities to facilitate the secure and rapid exchange of information. The cooperation provided for in this Agreement may be increased and supplemented by means of agreements on specific sectors and matters.

Customs cooperation

The parties undertake to develop customs cooperation by:

  • facilitating the legitimate movement of goods and exchanging information and expertise relating to customs techniques and procedures and computerised systems;
  • providing technical assistance to each other;
  • exchanging staff.

Mutual administrative assistance

The parties undertake to assist each other to ensure the correct application of customs legislation. The Agreement provides for two types of assistance:

  • assistance on request: the requested authority * furnishes the applicant authority * with all relevant information to enable it to ensure that customs legislation is correctly applied and to detect operations in breach of such legislation. The information may concern offences such as the presentation of incorrect or falsified documents and the regularity of export and import procedures between the two countries.

The Agreement also provides that special surveillance may be requested where there are grounds for believing that persons, places, goods or means of transport are involved in operations in breach of customs legislation.

  • spontaneous assistance: the parties assist each other if they consider that to be necessary for the correct application of customs legislation. In particular, they communicate to each other any information which can help to avoid substantial damage to the economy, public health or similar vital interests.

Formal aspects and exceptions to assistance

Requests must be made in writing, except in urgent cases where oral requests may be made, confirmed in writing thereafter. Requests must contain data on the applicant authority, the measure requested, the object of and the reason for the request, all the legally binding instruments involved and the persons who are the target of the investigation.

The requested party may refuse to provide assistance if to do so would be likely to prejudice the sovereignty, public policy, security or other essential interests of one of the parties. The obligation to provide assistance may also be waived where to do so would violate an industrial, commercial or professional secret, or involve currency or tax regulations other than customs legislation. The requested party may also decide to postpone assistance on the ground that it interferes with an ongoing investigation, prosecution or proceedings.

The Agreement contains confidentiality clauses in relation to the information supplied, which is covered by the obligation of professional secrecy. A high level of protection is given to personal data.

The Agreement provides for the establishment of a Joint Customs Cooperation Committee which sees to the proper functioning of this Agreement and examines all issues arising from its application.

Key terms used in the act
  • Customs legislation: customs legislation includes any legal provisions adopted by the European Community or India governing the import, export and transit of goods and their placing under any other customs procedure, including measures of prohibition, restriction and control.
  • Requested authority: means the competent customs authority which receives a request for assistance.
  • Applicant authority: means the competent customs authority which makes a request for assistance.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2004/633/EC 30.3.2004 OJ L 304 of 30.9.2004