India's Modi meets EU leaders, seeking investment


Brussels (AFP)

India's prime minister will hold talks Wednesday with EU leaders in Brussels, seeking to boost investment from his country's biggest trading partner and deepen cooperation on counterterrorism.

Narendra Modi will meet European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker in Brussels during the 13th EU-India summit, held in the week after deadly suicide bombings hit the city.

Foreign ministry official K Nandini Singla said the discussions would focus on trade and investment as well as security cooperation.

"In the light of recent terror attacks, understandably there is a renewed focus and emphasis on cooperation in counterterrorism. This will be certainly on the agenda for discussion," she said.

Modi's right-wing nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in 2014 promising to revive India's economy and create much-needed jobs.

But while India is the world's fastest-growing major economy, experts say it is still not expanding at a fast enough pace to provide employment for a burgeoning young population.

The 27-member EU is the South Asian nation's biggest trading partner and its biggest source of foreign investment, accounting for around 26 percent of total inward investment, or $69 billion.

The EU and India launched negotiations for a free-trade agreement in 2007 but progress has been held up due to differences over intellectual property rights and efforts by Brussels to link trade with climate.

Singla said the summit would also focus on strengthening India's relationship with the EU in priority areas including security.

Modi posted on his Facebook page that India stood "shoulder to shoulder" with Brussels in the wake of the attacks, which killed a 31-year-old Indian IT worker based in the city.