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HomeDiplomacyEU concerned by Kashmir situation & Citizenship Bill, calls for India-Pakistan dialogue

EU concerned by Kashmir situation & Citizenship Bill, calls for India-Pakistan dialogue

European Union Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto said the 28-nation bloc has also been pushing Pakistan to "fall in line" as far as state-sponsored terror funding is concerned.

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New Delhi: European Union Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto Tuesday said he hoped the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be implemented as per the standards set by the Indian Constitution even as he urged dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.

Noting that India and the European Union (EU) share the same democratic values and principles, the ambassador said he was hopeful the discourse around the bill will adhere to the Indian Constitution.

Speaking a media conference, he also took questions on Pakistan’s chances of being blacklisted at the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in February, and said the EU has been pushing Islamabad to be “fall in line” with international rules as far as state-sponsored terror funding is concerned.

However, he urged India and Pakistan to resolve bilateral issues through dialogue.

Also read: India answers Sweden’s Kashmir concerns, but brings up Pakistan terror threat too

“Our position has not changed since August. We have stressed on a dialogue between India and Pakistan through diplomatic channels,” Astuto said.

Further, he expressed concern over the situation in Kashmir and called for restoring of communication lines in the Valley at the earliest. “It is important to restore freedom of movement and normalcy in Kashmir,” he said.

Astuto, though, clarified that the controversial visit by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to Kashmir in October  was not “an expression of EU’s policy decision”.

Also read: Lunch with Army, empty shikaras & shut shops — EU MPs’ first day in Kashmir


‘India-EU FTA talks stalled since 2013’

Ambassador Astuto said India should focus on discussing the suspended Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) until the free trade agreement is finalised.

Negotiations over the India-European Union Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), or the free trade agreement, have been stalled since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 as the Indian government pushed for restarting the discussions from scratch. The EU has been opposed to this given that negotiations initially began in 2007.

Currently, only technical-level talks on.

India had suspended all 83 BITs it had with EU countries in 2016 as it wanted the region to negotiate the pacts based on New Delhi’s newly rolled out bilateral investment model.

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