India and Spain have recognised the significance of international trade in enhancing development and prosperity, and acknowledged the importance of an early conclusion of the negotiations on the EU - India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement.
A joint statement by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said both countries have expressed their interest in taking full advantage of trade agreements in order to enhance the transformative impact of their respective economic policies.
In order to enhance economic cooperation, strengthen bilateral relations and contribute to the stability and prosperity of South Asia and Europe, both leaders have decided to take the following steps:
Both leaders will recommend an early summit meeting between the two countries at the Heads of Government level as mutually convenient, and will intensify policy coordination and information exchange regarding the situation in South Asia, the Middle East, Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as global issues such as terrorism, climate change, energy security and the UN Security Council agenda.
India and Spain have further agreed to launch a regular security policy dialogue, led by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the Spain Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation to assess common strategic security challenges, exchange points of view and enhance cooperation at bilateral and multilateral level.
Swaraj and Margallo have further welcomed the exchange of experts in the fields of foreign affairs and security from their respective think tanks and academia, and expressed confidence that such collaboration would enhance the common understanding on security and strategic issues of mutual interest. They stressed the relevance of 'Casa Asia' and the network 'Red de Casas' as important stakeholders of public diplomacy and partners in furthering the bilateral relationship. In this context, it was agreed to revitalize public diplomacy linkages between the two countries through the Spain India Tribune mechanism.
It was also agreed to explore cooperation between the diplomatic training institutes of the two countries.
With India and Spain celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations in 2016, the two leaders agreed that both countries would provide as much assistance as possible for commemorative events in close cooperation with relevant institutions. Both sides agreed to actively promote mutual exchanges in the areas of economy, culture, academia and education, science and technology, and tourism, and explore ways to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between their peoples.
Taking note of the meeting of the Joint Economic Committee held in February and its important role in enhancing bilateral trade and economic exchanges, Swaraj and Margallo welcomed the initiatives taken to facilitate greater economic engagement between entrepreneurs such as the India - Spain CEO's Forum initiative and the intent to constitute the forum at an early date.
Both leaders also acknowledged the importance of initiatives to enhance business and civil society networking and expressed their full support to the Spain - India Council Foundation. In this regard, they expressed satisfaction at the successful organization of the First India - Spain Forum in December 2014 in Spain which focused on sustainable cities and transport networks.
Recognising the importance of building strong ties in the field of science and technology and underlined the significant opportunities that exist today to further India - Spain cooperation, Swaraj and Margallo acknowledged the multiplier effects of science and technology cooperation in all domains of the bilateral relationship, from academia to industry.
The two leaders also noted the encouraging progress in the negotiations of the following agreements: Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Agreement on Visa Waiver for Holders of Diplomatic Passports, Agreement on remunerative employment for dependents of members of a diplomatic mission or consular post, Agreement in the field of social security, Agreement on civil aviation and security, Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Transplant Services and Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Port Matters and expressed the hope that they will be concluded soon.
During his official visit of India, Margallo also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.
India and Spain have a number of bilateral treaties and agreements with each other, with bilateral trade between the two nations from January to August 2014 standing at USD 3.37 billion.