Remarks by President Donald Tusk following the EU-India summit in New Delhi

It is a true pleasure to be here at our first summit together in New Delhi. Thank you for your warm welcome and friendship.

India and the European Union are two of the world’s largest democracies. This carries with it the great responsibility to uphold freedom, democracy, human rights and a credible rules-based global order. Not least in times of uncertainty and change. The best way to face these challenges is to cooperate more and better. By strengthening our strategic partnership.

So, I am happy that today we have agreed to further develop the political dimension of our relationship; that we have agreed to develop our dynamic trade and investment relations; and that we have agreed to step up cooperation on global and regional issues.

Let me briefly touch on some of these topics.

We adopted a joint declaration on counterterrorism in which we agree to counter violent extremism and radicalisation, particularly on-line, and to deal effectively with the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, terrorist financing and arms supply.

We decided to step up cooperation on maritime security in the Indian Ocean and beyond, which I hope will lead to enhanced military cooperation. We welcome the resumption of tactical exercises in the Gulf of Aden between the EU’s Naval Force Operation ATALANTA and the Indian Navy and look forward to more such opportunities including India’s participation in escorting World Food Programme vessels.

We also discussed the global migration and refugee crisis and agreed to coordinate closely. Through our EU-India Common Agenda for Migration and Mobility. And within the United Nations. Your engagement, Prime Minister, is appreciated and needed. The European Union continues to assume its responsibilities by receiving people in need of protection and by assisting host countries close to the conflict zones. The international community has a responsibility to crack down on human smugglers that exploit vulnerable people and violate sovereign borders.

We addressed the situation in Myanmar and the Rohingya refugee crisis. We want to see a de-escalation of tensions and a full adherence to international human rights obligations in Myanmar, as well as full humanitarian access so the aid can reach those in need. The Rohingya people must be able to return voluntarily, in safety and dignity. We call for the implementation of the recommendations of the international Rakhine Advisory Commission to tackle the root causes of this crisis. As a neighbour, India stands first in line to respond.

Turning to North Korea, the European Union, India and the whole international community have a responsibility to act with resolve for a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK must abandon its nuclear weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and immediately cease all related activities. The 11 September resolution unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council is increasing the pressure on the North Korean regime. It sends a strong signal, showing the unity of the international community. The European Union is implementing the resolution and is working on adopting EU additional sanctions to increase the pressure on North Korea.

As regards Ukraine, the European Union remains strong and united in its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty. That is why we insist on the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements and encourage all our partners to join us in this.

Let me conclude on our trade talks and the gap between each side’s expectations. I will not enter into the details as this is for Commission President Juncker but let me just make a political observation. Free and fair trade agreements are not only economically important for our companies and citizens to prosper. Above all, they strengthen and defend the rules-based international order and our way of life. The democracies of the world can be the ones to set ambitious global standards, but only if we cooperate.

Rabindranath Tagore said ‘one cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water’. I am confident we can ‘swim’ better for this ambitious and strategic cause.

Prime Minister, thank you again for the hospitality and for the discussions today.