New Delhi: India and the European Union on Friday agreed to strengthen ties in key areas of trade and security after their 14th summit, during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the top EU leadership deliberated extensively on bilateral, regional and international issues

After the summit, European Council President Donald Franciszek Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker talked about the much-delayed trade pact between the two sides at a joint press event with Modi

The two sides also inked three pacts, including one on an international solar alliance, after the summit

The 28-nation bloc is India’s largest regional trading partner with bilateral trade in goods at USD 88 billion in 2016. It is also the largest destination for Indian exports and a key source of investment and technologies

India received around USD 83 billion of foreign direct investment from Europe during 2000-17, constituting approximately 24 per cent of total FDI inflows into the country during the period, said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar

India and the EU have been strategic partners since 2004

The 13th India-EU Summit was held in Brussels on March 30 last year during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit

The summit last year failed to make any headway on the resumption of long stalled negotiations for a free trade agreement

Launched in June 2007, negotiations for the proposed EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) have witnessed many hurdles with major differences on crucial issues like intellectual property rights, duty cut in automobile and spirits.