India and European Union (EU) are natural partners.

India and European Union (EU) are natural partners

India and European Union (EU) are natural partners.

This editorial is based on the article “Can India and the EU operationalize their natural partnership?” published in ‘The Hindustan Times’ dated 12/05/2021. It provides information about areas of cooperation between India and the European Union and how India and European Union (EU) are natural partners.

Key features of Virtual Summit

Table of Contents

  • These negotiations were suspended in the year 2013 as both sides failed to resolve their differences on some key issues such as tariff reductions, patent protection, data protection and the right of Indian professionals to work in Europe.
  • Restoration of BIT Talks: The two sides have also agreed to initiate negotiations for a standalone investment protection agreement and an agreement on geographical indications.
  • Connectivity Partnership: At the virtual summit, India and the European Union launched an ambitious “connectivity partnership” between digital, energy, transport and people-to-people, leading the two to pursue sustainable joint projects in areas stretching from Africa, Central Asia to the Indo-Pacific Will be able to

European Union and India: Natural partners

  • The EU needs to distance itself from China: The European Union recently signed a comprehensive investment agreement with China, which has now been suspended due to diplomatic tension.
  • Some EU members were banned by China in response to the embargo against China by the European Union to aid Uygar Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. Because of this, the European Parliament is strongly opposed to the deal.
  • Economic reasoning: the EU Union is India’s largest commercialism partner and also the second-largest export destination, creating the logic of a robust India-EU economic relationship axiomatic.
  • In addition, India wants to demonstrate its commitment to open trade in order to focus on developing a domestic manufacturing base.
  • Cooperation in Global Health: In view of the present situation, health cooperation has acquired a new important place.
  • In the last few weeks, member states of the European Union have taken the initiative to support India by sending important medical supplies, which were being done by India to other countries last year.
  • As both sides are committed to working together on global health, there is a greater need to focus on flexible medical supply chains.
  • Coordination in the Indo-Pacific region: The European Union is being forced into the geopolitical implications of the imperative of its foreign policy and India is seeking significant partnerships with like-minded countries to coordinate in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • In addition, India is looking beyond the bipolar geopolitical competition between the US and China and working towards establishing a multi-polar world.
  • Combating climate change: India can adopt a new industrial strategy called the Green Deal of the European Union to neutralize its carbon emissions by 2050.
  • The European Union and India can try to convert themselves into carbon-neutral economies by the year 2050 by investing in clean energy.
  • Europe’s investment and technology are paramount in India’s efforts to increase the use of renewable energy in India.

Road ahead

  • Geoeconomic Cooperation: India may target EU countries to engage in the Indo-Pacific region, geo-economically or not in terms of security.
  • It can mobilize large-scale economic resources for sustainable development of regional infrastructure, control political influence and leverage its critical soft power to shape the Indo-Pacific Dialogue.
  • Finalization of the India-EU BIT Treaty: India and the European Union are negotiating a free trade deal that has been pending since 2007.
  • Therefore, for closer coordination between India and the European Union, both should engage in the finalization of the trade agreement as soon as possible.
  • Cooperation with important leaders: The visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India in early 2018 unveiled a broad framework to revive the strategic partnership.
  • India’s partnership with France is now a strong regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • In addition, India should supplement its partnership with the United States in addition to the India-Australia-Japan Forum and trilateral talks with France and Australia and a network of multilateral groups with other middle powers.

Conclusion

  • As strategic realities are likely to develop rapidly in Covid-19 and beyond, India and the EU have a new opportunity to reevaluate the core principles of their cooperation.
  • Whether two “natural partners” will be able to make the most of this unique synergy is yet to be seen.

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