However, talks for a free trade agreement have been suspended and there is no indication that they will begin in the near future. Indian social movements, including fishermen and trade unions, people living with HIV/AIDS and other health advocates have mobilized against the free trade agreement. International actions and campaigns have focused in particular on the provisions proposed in the intellectual property agreement and on the impact of the free trade agreement on access to medicines. Some mutual misunderstandings are holding back a potentially strong EU-India axis – and a free trade agreement. However, following the videoconference, the timing of a free trade agreement that had been discussed for several years was not mentioned. The EU continues to work with India to ensure that such an agreement is economically viable, provides both parties with genuine new market openings in all sectors, contains a strong rules-based track and contains a comprehensive chapter on trade and sustainable development, including addressing social and environmental impacts. In the meantime, the EU is ready to consider opening negotiations for a stand-alone investment protection agreement that would enhance legal certainty for investors on both sides. India, which has not signed a trade agreement since 2012, will soon restart discussions on a possible free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union and the United States. Even when Narendra Modi`s government left the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP), it is interested in making trade deals with other economic blocs, a high-level source said, adding that India could gain significantly in the face of growing anti-China sentiment in many parts of the world. The EU is India`s largest trading partner with 11.1% of total Indian trade, on a par with the US and China (10.7%). We are confident that free trade agreements with the EU and the US will benefit India and talks will resume,” said Gopal Krishna Agarwal, bharatiya Janata Party`s national spokesperson for economic affairs.
“India is not opposed to trade agreements with other countries, although this now seems to be the popular idea, after leaving RCEP, we understand the need to remain integrated globally and regionally,” Agarwal added. India was one of the first countries to develop relations with the European Union. The 1993 Joint Political Declaration and the 1994 Cooperation Agreement were the basic agreements for the bilateral partnership. In 2004, India and the European Union became “strategic partners”. A joint action plan was adopted in 2005 and updated in 2008. The India-EU Joint Declarations were issued in 2009 and 2012 following the India-EU summits.  RELATIONS BETWEEN THE EU and India were seen as rhetorical and substantially weak.