By Daniel Hunter

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has said that there has been 'substantial progress' in talks towards agreeing a free trade agreement between the EU and India.

Adding to that, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he hoped an agreement would be reached at the 'very earliest'.

The two sides are holding a summit in Delhi to strengthen bilateral trade.

Negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) have been taking place since 2008 with little success amid a number of tariff and visa issues.

Both parties had failed to reach agreement over issues such as Indian duties on cars and spirits.

Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said the talks were in the "final stage" but a "few gaps" still remained.

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