India and the European Union (EU) held their 15th “annual” summit after a gap of more than two years. India was represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the European Union was represented by President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. During the meet India and the European Union were stated as “natural partners” and encouraged cultural exchanges and educational cooperation between India and the EU. The 16th India-EU Summit will be held in the year 2021.
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Issues Involved in the Summit:
- The EU is critical about India’s “protectionist” measures on tariffs, on opening up India’s services sector for European Companies and the termination of bilateral investment treaties with 25 EU member states.
- The EU also views India’s recent Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan as an initiative which might lead to protectionism.
- The trade relationship is also far below the potential, with India accounting for less than 3% of EU’s total trade.
- The EU has been critical over the removal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the Citizenship Amendment Act, which according to India is an internal matter.
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India-EU Strategic Partnership:
- India-EU endorsed “EU-India Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025” as a common roadmap to guide joint action and further strengthen the EU-India Strategic Partnership over the next five years.
- India and EU both are “unions of diversity”, sharing values of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
- Both are equally convinced of the necessity to preserve the rules-based international order and effective multilateralism.
- Both have a common interest in each other’s security, prosperity and sustainable development. They can contribute jointly to a safer, cleaner and more stable world.
Trade Pact between Indian and EU:
- India and EU have agreed to launch a high-level trade dialogue to foster progress on “balanced, ambitious and mutually beneficial” trade and investment agreements, address trade irritants and discuss supply chain linkages.
- India and EU had launched talks for having a wide-ranging Free Trade Agreement (FTA), officially called broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), long ago in 2007.
- The EU is India’s largest trading partner grouping (country wise USA is India’s largest trading partner), while India is the EU ‘s ninth biggest trading partner.
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Defence and Security Cooperation between India and EU:
- The EU officials described the recent India-China border standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as a matter of considerable concern.
- India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Europol launched negotiations to combat organised crime and terrorism.
- Consultations on crisis management and deeper cooperation between the Indian Navy and the European Union Naval Force Atalanta.
- The EU’s counter-piracy military operation in the western Indian Ocean.
Science and Technology cooperation:
- India and the EU can also cooperate over Information Communication Technology, which could help India to build strategic autonomy in the digital sphere and bring investments in emerging and disruptive technologies.
- The EU and India will reinforce their cooperation in the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to promote the deployment of solar energy, and in the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF) to mobilise private capital towards environmentally sustainable investments.
- The Science and Technology Agreement was renewed for the next five years in the virtual summit.
About European Union (EU):
The European Union is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of 4,233,255.3 km² and an estimated total population of about 447 million. The EU and European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993.
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