Shipping lines can handle chunk of Indian exports to EU: Papandreou

Greece has expressed interest in joining hands with India in maritime cooperation.

At a meeting with Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou expressed his country's interest in cooperating with India in shipping, pointing out that Greek shipping lines could handle a chunk of Indian exports to the European Union (EU).

Mr. Papandreou felt that resurfacing of piracy was a major cause for concern because of extensive Greek shipping operations, and India and Greece could cooperate in this area, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs Lata Reddy told journalists here.

Ties with Malaysia

At Mr. Ansari's meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd. Najib, both sides expressed satisfaction over bilateral relations.

Mr. Najib said he was looking forward to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Kuala Lumpur later this month and hoped that by then both sides would reach an in-principle acceptance of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

He offered Malaysian participation in more projects including housing, airports and construction of all kinds.

Mr. Ansari and Mr. Najib exchanged views on the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit and agreed that G-20 was the major forum for discussing international financial trends. However, they felt, the ASEM, representing nearly half the world's population and gross domestic product, should also be revitalised by going for concrete results.

Belgium relations

The Vice-President met Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, who said he was looking forward to the bilateral component during Dr. Singh's visit here to attend the India-EU summit in December.

They discussed the question of a broad-based Free Trade Agreement, and Mr. Leterme felt that progress would be made be if technical experts finalised all details by then.

Belgium also wants India to play a positive role in climate change talks. Mr. Ansari reiterated that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Process remained the basis of negotiations, and the earlier commitments could not be sidestepped. He explained that India had taken national measures due to its own environmental concerns.