In this article, we have analysed the significance of India-EU relations in the last few years which is considered as one of the important topics for IAS Mains Exam. Questions on such issues in IAS Mains Exam Paper II can be asked. So, by keeping the pattern of asking questions on international relation, we have provided an analysis of India-EU relations based on the recent India-European Union summit.
The 14th India-European Union summit was completed on October 6 in New Delhi. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met top leaders from the European Union to discuss measures to strengthen India’s ties with the EU in key areas of trade and security. In the summit, many negotiations went underway between officials from India and the EU. The officials from both sides put efforts to explore ways on how they will move forward on the stalled negotiations over numerous issues such as a new and ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will encompass goods, services as well as mutual investment protection. We have discussed all the significant issues which were discussed in the summit below:
- India and the EU adopted a declaration to counter terrorism at the 14th India-EU summit India. The declaration is a joint statement and an action plan to combat international terrorism. The leaders also criticized the terror act by Rohingya terrorists and also sent a clear message to China by emphasizing on the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas( UNCLOS) for resolving all maritime territorial disputes.
- It was a landmark move in the history of India and European Union. It will certainly help both sided comprehensively and will enhance the security of the people of both sides.
- Apart from it, India and the 28-nation bloc also decided to enhance cooperation on maritime security in the Indian Ocean and beyond. This boost in maritime security will lead to enhanced military cooperation between EU and India. The resumption of tactical exercise in the Gulf of Aden between EU’s Naval Force Atlanta and the Indian Navy was also welcomed by the leaders.
- The aggressive activities by China in the South China Sea was considered in the summit as it underlined the “importance of freedom of navigation, overflight and peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) 1982.
- The European Union is India’s largest trading partner, as the 28-nation bloc was also one of the largest investors in India.
- India and EU’s trade in goods was at USD 88 billion in 2016. Besides this, EU remains the biggest destination for Indian exports and a key source of investment and technologies.
- India received around USD 83 billion of foreign direct investment from Europe during 2000-17, which constitutes approximately 24 per cent of total FDI inflows into the country during the period.
- The two sides have been strategic partners since 2004 and held the 13th India-EU summit in Brussels last year during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Europe. However, the summit meeting had also failed at making any headway on the resumption of long-stalled negotiations for a free trade agreement
- In this summit, India and the European Union (EU) agreed to resume talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) with a focus on strengthening two-way trade and investment.
At the end of delegation-level talks, both sides also inked three agreements in the basket of deals between two sides. These agreements are:
1. European Commission and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB).
2. Finance contract of Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase-2-Line R6 for 300 million euros, of the total European Investment Bank (EIB) loan.
3. And a joint declaration between the interim secretariat of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the EIB.
It is a new development between EU and India that The European Investment Bank would help member countries of the India-initiated ISA to implement solar energy projects.
Renewable Energy and Climate Change
- In a recent report which was released by I International Energy Agency (IEA) showed that India’s renewable energy capacity will more than double by 2022. This means it would be enough to overtake renewable expansion in the European Union for the first time.
- The government data reveals that India’s renewable energy installed capacity is 58.30 GW. The government has an ambitious target of raising it to 175 GW by 2022 including 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind energy.
The renewable energy would be useful in doing clean development in both EU countries and India. The EU-India initiative on clean development and climate change focuses on:
1. Cooperation on clean technology
2. The Clean Development Mechanism
3. Adaptation to climate change and sustainable development strategies.
The top most agenda of the European leaders was the conclusion of the FTA. And India focused more on issues related to counter-terrorism and security.
Under the FTA, the issue of data adequacy and greater market access was discussed at length during the summit-level meeting.
Trade and investment, science and technology, and innovation and education will remain on the Indo-European partnership platter. But in an increasingly hostile global environment it would be difficult to implement such cooperation.
Both EU and India will have to give such cooperation a strategic and democratic direction to navigate hostile global environment.
The U.S. and EU are looking forward to join hands in defense of the liberal order. And, India has also joined hands with EU in this summit. This move will help in protecting the international principles and institutions that have supported the development all around the globe.
This is the right time for New Delhi, and EU to strengthen security and stability of both India and Europe. But both sides are required to reform the multilateral architecture to prevent the rise of isolationist, unilateral and authoritarian forces.