India-European Union Summit 2020 – All India Radio (AIR) IAS UPSC

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  • July 30, 2020
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India-European Union Summit 2020

Search 15th July, 2020 Spotlight here:   

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

India and EU: India has impressed the world over the last decades with a tremendous drive towards modernisation and sustainable development. And through the years, the European Union has accompanied and supported such change. India is the world’s fastest-growing large economy, with the potential to become a global growth engine if it harnesses its full demographic potential. The EU is India’s first trading partner and one of its largest sources of investment. Close to 6,000 EU companies are present in India: They create good jobs for over 6 million people, and invest in the Indian people’s skills and creativity. 

Focus areas: 

  • India and EU to restart free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations – Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) 
  • To conclude several agreements including – a roadmap for cooperation, an agreement on research sharing for civil nuclear cooperation and launch a maritime security dialogue as well as negotiations between Europol and the CBI
  • Medical developments on vaccines and treatment. 

Major outcomes:

  1. India and EU committed to a framework for strategic cooperation until 2025. (Five-year roadmap for the India-EU strategic partnership.)
  2. Both vowed to cooperate on their response to the coronavirus pandemic and the United Nations Security Council. As the world moves away from a global supply chain that is overly dependent on China, India emerges as the most natural ally for the EU in this regard. Europe’s dependence on Asia for life-saving health goods has been starkly revealed during the current pandemic. With India’s vast drug manufacturing capabilities and the EU’s technical expertise, a partnership between the two for the exchange of ideas, innovations, and capabilities in the health sector will benefit both regions.
  3. To revive talks on a free trade agreement (Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement) that have been suspended since 2013. 
  4. Civil nuclear research and development cooperation agreement between EURATOM and the Department of Atomic Energy.
  5. Exchange best practices in range of areas and the renewal of their science and technology agreement for another five years.
  6. Cooperation between India and the EU in ICT could range from building strategic autonomy in the digital sphere to investments in emerging and disruptive technologies. As the 5G debate continues, an alliance to protect and enhance cyber security will also be crucial and necessary.

India-EU areas of convergence:

  • India and the EU are natural partners.
  • India-EU partnership is important for global peace and stability.
  • Both share similar ‘universal values’ of democracy, pluralism, respect for international institutions and multilateralism.
  • Share common interest in tackling climate change, and building trade.
  • EU is India’s largest trading partner, while India is the EU’s ninth biggest trading partner.

India-EU areas of divergence:

  • EU leadership had raised concerns over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Citizenship Amendment Act.
  • EU expressed concerns about India’s “protectionist” tone to “Atmanirbhar Bharat” slogan. 

The Way Forward:

  • EU and India should seek out ways to converge technological safety protocols, privacy provisions, and investment screening approaches. The recognition of data protection equivalency would also enable data transfers that are necessary for the development of digital industries. It would also be prudent to jointly promote democratic principles through institutions like the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence and the D-10 (G-7 countries plus Australia, South Korea, and India, and other like-minded democracies) alliance, and by incentivising supply chains that abide by shared standards.
  • To ameliorate supply chain concerns, the partnership should further develop the ICT and manufacturing sector in India, enhance capacities for sourcing components and supporting technology, including for the EU’s two 5G frontrunners, strengthen governmental and industrial collaboration to advance and roll-out technologies, and adjust EU-India trade policy to facilitate digital trade.
  • The EU-India agenda here should include the promotion and de-risking of investment in renewable energy and green technology, the channeling of post-COVID-19 stimulus into green infrastructure, joint research and development, and business-to-business cooperation to contribute to the green transition.

Now is the time for the EU and India to enhance cooperation, strengthen and deepen their dialogue, and work towards defending a rules-based global order that facilitates sustainable growth, security and stability. As India prepares to host the G20 in 2022, the virtual India-EU Summit on 15 July is a step towards India aligning itself for a bigger and more diversified role in the emerging world order.

Do you know? 

  • EU is India’s largest trading partner and investor, and accounts for 11% of India’s global trade. 
  • EU had welcomed India’s election to the UN Security Council next year. 
  • EU has reservations about the model “Bilateral Investment Treaty” (BIT) that India has proposed, especially on dispute mechanisms in Indian courts. 
  • Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement is a Free Trade Agreement between India and EU, which was initiated in 2007.

Connecting the Dots:

  1. What significance does European Union (EU) hold for India? Discuss. Why is India-EU trade well below its potential? Examine the factors.
  2. Impact of COVID-19 on multilateral organisations

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