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Panel regrets non-response by EU to Modi's Brussels' visit plan

The imbroglio over the Italian marines' issue is the main reason for the plan being called off

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A high-level European delegation today expressed "regret" over non-response of the European Union to India's proposal for Prime Minister Modi's visit to Brussels next month due to the Italian marines issue and said it will ask the 28-member bloc to "rapidly try" to fix the dates for India-EU Summit.

Chair of the EU Delegation for relations with Geoffrey Van Orden said a date for Modi's visit was under discussion and it took too long on the part of the EU to confirm it following which called off the plan.

The delegation will ask the EU to "rapidly try" and identify a new date for a summit between and EU, which had last taken place in 2012, and hoped that the Indian leadership will respond in a positive way, Orden said.

Admitting that Italian marines was an issue for EU, he, however, said importance of the relationship between the two sides was much larger than the matter and calling off of Modi's plan to visit Brussels was disappointing.

"This (Marines issue) should not be a matter which affects relationship between the EU and India. This (the relationship) is something far larger and wider platform to unite. That is why we have expressed disappointment that the summit has been postponed," he told reporters here.

Orden said a date was under discussion and "it took too long" on the part of the EU to confirm the date which made India firm up Modi's itinerary leaving out a short visit to Brussels.

"I think it is very regrettable. We as Parliamentarian want to see positive engagement," he said criticising EU for the delay in finalising the date.

Upset with the slow progress of the trial of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fisherman in 2012, new EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had made many critical remarks on the issue much to India's discomfort.

The delegation also hoped for an early resumption of the negotiations for an economic pact, talks for which were launched in 2007.

First Published: Mon, March 16 2015. 18:07 IST