The European Union wants to continue deepening its strategic partnership with India.
India is now the most populated country in the world and has significant economic potential. India’s geo-political positioning and domestic policy choices, particularly on climate and environmental issues, have implications for the Indo-Pacific region and, indeed, for the rest of the world.
It is in the context of India’s steady rise, and regional and global power dynamics, that we should assess the strategic partnership between the European Union and India. Broadly speaking, European Union relations with India are expanding and enjoying a positive momentum.
As your report – by Rapporteur [Alametsä] – points out, our strategic partnership with India is guided by a bilateral political framework, the ‘Roadmap to 2025’, which guides joint action in many policy areas to further strengthen our relationship. The implementation of the Roadmap is continuously monitored and well advanced. The European Union and India have a common interest in each other’s security, prosperity and sustainable development and together, can contribute to a safer, cleaner and more stable world. Last year we witnessed the magnitude and success of India’s G20 Presidency, and we recognise India’s efforts to put the priorities and concerns of developing countries high on the agenda.
Let me continue by highlighting some recent achievements of our deepening partnership. The relaunch of negotiations for an EU free trade agreement with India was a momentous development in 2022. There have now been six rounds of talks, with both sides prioritising a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement as the outcome.
The European Union and India also established a ministerial-level Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in May 2023, in order to give high-level political steering to our cooperation in strategic issues at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security. We expect to hold the next meeting soon.
In 2021, the European Union and India adopted a Connectivity Partnership and, together with the European Union’s Global Gateway strategy and the European Investment Bank (EIB), we are making progress in key sectors such as energy, urbanisation, digitalisation and transport.
In addition, the European Union is strengthening its cooperation with India on security and defence, with regular thematic dialogues, joint naval exercises, and closer cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
While our relations with India are experiencing an overall positive trajectory, we are conscious of the reports about the deteriorating human rights situation and shrinking civil society space, which are addressed at length in your report.
I would like to reassure you that human rights are indispensable elements in EU foreign policy towards all our partners; India being no exception. In this context let me highlight that the European Union is the only external partner with whom India has a dedicated human rights dialogue. We attach great importance to this dialogue, and the ability to have genuine discussions with India, as strategic partners, even on sensitive issues.
In conclusion, with the world facing major geopolitical challenges, India remains a crucial partner, strategic partner for the European Union. Our ability to strategically navigate the 21st century and work together on key priorities will bring great benefits to both Europe and India, and the rest of the world.
Source: Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan