India and the European Union have upgraded their ties with the launch of the first ever Security and Defence consultations encompassing cyber security, terrorism,maritime awareness, joint exercises and threat assessments.

The first-ever India-European Union (EU) Security and Defence Consultations was held in Brussels last Friday with both sides focussing on cyber security, terrorism, maritime awareness, training modules, joint exercises, threat assessments among other issues, ET has learnt.

The dialogue was pursuant to a decision taken at the India-EU Summit in July 2020. The wide-ranging discussions covered the evolving security situation in Europe, India’s neighbourhood and the Indo-Pacific.

The consultations were co-chaired by Ministry of Defence Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) Somnath Ghosh and MEA Joint Secretary (Europe West) Sandeep Chakravorty from the Indian side and Joanneke Balfoort, Director Security and Defence Policy, from the EU side.

“The two sides noted number of positive developments in the area of security and defence cooperation in recent years, including establishment of a regular maritime security dialogue, which met for the second time in February 2022, the first-ever joint naval exercises held in June 2021, and a number of joint workshops on the subject of fostering maritime security,” according to a statement issued by the Indian Embassy in Brussels.

The two sides during the consultations also discussed various means of increasing India-EU cooperation on maritime security, implementation of the European code of conduct on arms export to India’s neighborhood, cooperation in co-development and co-production of defence equipment, including India’s participation in PESCO.

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