Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: India and the European Union on Tuesday decided to fast track the talks to conclude a Free Trade Agreement within the next few months. The trade and investment pact has come under scrutiny of Indian Parliamentarians who are demanding that it should be made public and Parliament approval should be sought before the agreement is concluded and implemented. On Tuesday, Commerce secretary Rahul Khullar and visiting European Commission's Director General for Trade David O. Sullivan discussed trade in goods and services, matters relating to intellectual property rights and non-tariff barriers to trade. The discussions were held with a view to finding possible contours of a deal and laying the road map of further negotiations on unresolved issues. EU's expectation on high level of liberalisation by both sides was discussed along with India's desire to have an agreement which reflects a balanced outcome, considering the difference in the level of development of India and the EU. It was also agreed that a Ministerial level stock taking could take place at a suitable time in the near future after substantial progress has been made at the expert level.