How India-EU relations are experiencing a transformative shift?

Published: December 3, 2018

The EU has released its strategy on India which replaces 2004 EU-India declaration on building a bilateral strategic partnership.

Bottlenecks in the relations:

  • Both India and the EU had struggled to build a partnership that can be instrumental in shaping the geopolitics and geo-economics of the 21st century. Both had their own set of grievances and used to complain of others arrogance and ignorance.
  • India found the bureaucratic maze of Brussels difficult to navigate and in the process ignored the EU as a collective.
  • India also had reservations about the high moralistic tone emanating from Brussels.
  • India had complained that Brussels does not take India seriously and India was getting overshadowed due to greater attention towards EU-China relations.
  • Nothing much of substance has happened in taking forward EU-India bilateral trade and investment agreement

India-EU Natural Partners:

  • The attempts of US. President Donald Trump to upend the global liberal order which is a cause of worry for both India and EU.
  • China’s rise and its aggressive attitude are challenging the very values of free and fair trade which are very near to both India and EU.
  • As the wider EU political landscape evolves after Brexit, and India seeks to manage the turbulent geopolitics in Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific, both recognise the importance of engaging each other.
  • India’s horizons are now widening beyond South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. EU is forced to look beyond its periphery.

Building robust relations:

  • EU has unveiled a new strategy document iterating that both India and EU are strategic partners.
  • The new strategy paper of EU underscores a transformative shift in Brussels vis-à-vis India.
  • The strategy paper talks of key focus areas such as the need to conclude a broader Strategic Partnership Agreement, intensifying dialogue on Afghanistan and Central Asia, strengthening technical cooperation on fighting terrorism, and countering radicalisation, violent extremism, and terrorist financing.

As the EU shifts its focus to India, New Delhi should heartily reciprocate this outreach.

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