EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will pay a two-day visit to India this week to discuss trade and security cooperation ahead of a summit next month, her office said on Sunday. Ashton will co-chair a ministerial meeting with Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna in Bangalore on Monday to lay the groundwork for the 12th EU-India summit scheduled to take place February 10 in New Delhi. \"My visit comes at a time when both India and the EU are facing important challenges,\" she said in a statement. \"I hope the visit will strengthen our political and economic ties and create opportunities for synergies in addressing regional and global challenges, including for example in the field of security,\" Ashton added. Her office said the European Union\'s chief diplomat would also renew the 27-nation bloc\'s commitment to conclude \"as soon as possible a comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement between the EU and India.\" Ashton, whose visit will continue on Tuesday, will also meet with Defence Minister A.K. Antony and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.