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  • 16 August, 2022

  • 9 Min Read

India-European Union Ties

India-European Union Ties

India is commemorating its 75th anniversary of independence and 60 years of diplomatic ties with the European Union (EU).

How has the relationship between India and the EU evolved over the years?

  • The two nations' connection went beyond trade and economic cooperation after they signed a cooperation pact in 1994.
  • In June 2000, the first summit between India and the EU represented a turning point in the development of the relationship.
  • In 2004, the partnership was elevated to a "Strategic Partnership" during the fifth India-EU Summit.
  • In 2005, the two parties agreed upon a Joint Action Plan.
  • The action plan aimed to improve trade and investment, promote cross-cultural understanding and create institutions for political and economic discussion and consultation.
  • A shared road plan was provided at the 15th India-EU Summit in July 2020 to direct cooperative activity and further solidify the cooperation over the ensuing five years.

The road map highlights engagement across five domains:

  • foreign policy and security cooperation
  • trade and economy
  • sustainable modernization partnership
  • global governance
  • people-to-people relations

What are the areas of cooperation?


  • In 2021–2022, the two countries bilateral trade reached $116 billion.
  • After the United States, the EU is India's second-largest commercial partner and the second-largest market for its exports.
  • In the nation, 6,000 European businesses support 6.7 million jobs both directly and indirectly.
  • The goal of the green strategic collaboration between India and Denmark is to combat pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change.
  • The India-Nordic Summit centred on green technologies and industry change, both of which are essential for inclusive and sustainable growth.
  • All of this will stimulate further cooperation between the two regions.


There has been significant growth in cooperation with the EU in the field of defence.

  • Reducing India's reliance on Russian hardware in light of the turmoil in Ukraine is crucial at this point.
  • As a result of its conflict with China, this also aids in the effort to diversify its acquisitions of modern weapons from other regions.
  • A regular joint military and naval drills between India and the EU demonstrate their dedication to a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.
  • The joint steering committee for science and technology is particularly interested in fields including earth sciences, artificial intelligence, and healthcare.
  • The European Atomic Energy Community and the Government of India signed a deal in 2020 to cooperate in research and development for nuclear energy's non-military applications.
  • India is recognized by European allies as a key pillar in maintaining the Indo-Pacific region's stability.
  • The first maritime security discussion between India and the European Union took place in 2021, with an emphasis on capacity-building, cooperative naval exercises, and cooperation in maritime domain awareness.
  • The timely delivery of 36 Rafale fighter fighters by France and its willingness to supply the Indian Navy Barracuda nuclear attack submarines are signs of the confidence that is developing in bilateral partnerships.
  • Leading European defence equipment producers are eager to work with Indian firms on defence projects that support the "Make in India" initiative.
  • The start-up and innovation ecosystem in India and Europe is another area of involvement that is expanding quickly.

What are the challenges in the relationship?

In several areas, the perspectives and interests of the two parties diverge.

  • One point of contention has been India's hesitation to expressly denounce Russia's action in Ukraine and the nation's growing economic partnership with Russia.
  • India has criticized the EU for applying different standards to the same matter given that the EU will import 45% of its gas from Russia in 2021.
  • The EU's approach to countering China's ascent is likewise unclear.
  • A prime example is how it behaved when there was a fight in Galway.
  • The EU may skillfully use India's economic, political, and demographic weight to balance out China's influence throughout the region.
  • There does appear to be some hesitation, though.

Way forward

  • In an increasingly multi-polar world, where both India and the EU are major political and economic pillars, our ability to cooperate can influence global outcomes.
  • The EU is looking to form alliances with nations that share its values, such as India, in order to become more than just a commercial bloc.
  • Such ideological differences shouldn't overshadow the many areas where India and the EU agree.
  • The proactive restart of the expansive free trade and investment agreement between the EU and India in 2021 is a positive step.

Also, Learn About - Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)

Source: The Hindu

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