In June 2000, the first EU-India Summit was held in Lisbon, under the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council. The Summit, which was described by the former Indian Prime Minister, as 'the harbinger of a new India-European Partnership in the 21st Century' concluded with a 22-point 'Agenda for Action', including provisions for the launching of an India-EU Round Table between organised Indian and European civil society.
The political decision to set up the India-EU Round Table originated in an initiative by the EU Commissioner for External Relations, Mr Chris Patten and by the former Indian Foreign Minister, Mr Singh. This initiative was warmly welcomed by the EESC, which was invited by Commissioner Patten to represent organised European civil society.
Through the involvement of the EESC and of representatives of Indian civil society, existing EU-India political dialogue and trade relations have been complemented, and an equal and mutually beneficial partnership between the relevant actors has been consolidated.
The First Round Table between representatives of the EU and Indian civil society took place on 29 and 30 January 2001 in New Delhi. The event was inaugurated by the EU Commissioner for External Relations, Mr Chris Patten and by Mr Jaswant Singh, former Indian Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Round Table was chaired by the former President of the EESC, Mr Göke Frerichs.
Today, the Round Table is de facto suspended but activities and contacts are maintained with a wide range of Indian civil society organizations in order to find new ways of engagement.