EU and India will continue to strengthen the strategic partnership in the emerging world order, say top officials from both sides

EU-India think tanks present insights on effective bilateral cooperation for a post-Covid world

The Delegation of the European Union to India held a virtual symposium on “EU and India: Forces of Stability in an Unstable World”. This virtual event took place in the backdrop of the EU-India Think Tanks Twinning Initiative (TTTI), which has been promoting a better understanding and stimulating joint research between leading Indian and EU think tanks and academia since 2015.

Delivering the keynote remarks, Mr. Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia-Pacific, European External Action Service (EEAS), Brussels, said there is political will on both sides to achieve ambitious new tasks set under the EU-India partnership. He said digital transformation is a promising area for cooperation which is key for the competitiveness of our economies, especially during the Covid-19 period. We want more cooperation with India on security issues. Climate change continues to remain a top priority on the EU agenda with an ambition to have climate neutrality by 2050 and including a green circular economy.

In his keynote address, Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary and Head of Europe West Division, Ministry of External Affairs, said India and EU are two important poles of a multi-polar world and India is optimistic about implementing the EU-India Roadmap to 2025 issued at the recent Summit. India is stepping up cooperation on a range of issues with the EU, ranging from trade to security, technology, and climate change.

The Ambassador of the European Union to India, H.E. Mr. Ugo Astuto, in his welcome remarks said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing tensions and created new ones. The EU-India strategic partnership has gained in scope and depth in the last couple of years, with the last EU-India Summit injecting further momentum in the relationship. The EU and India can work together as a force for good in global affairs, in fighting COVID and in addressing challenges such as climate change, promoting a green recovery, and digital connectivity.”

 This was followed by a presentation of selected think tank papers’ recommendations and a Q&A session with Mr. Chakravorty and Mr. Wiegand, moderated by Mr. Christophe Manet, Head of Political Section, the EU Delegation to India.

Recently the EU and Indian think-tankers were invited under the EU India Think Tanks Twinning Initiative (TTTI) to submit short policy papers on the opportunities for enhanced EU-India cooperation. The writers of these papers were invited to a closed-door Experts Workshop where the papers were discussed amongst the authors for peer-to-peer review and with policymakers from the EEAS. The authors were also given a virtual briefing on the state of play, challenges, and opportunities in EU-India relations by Mr. Ioannis Giogkarakis Argyropoulos, Head of Division, Regional Affairs, and South Asia, European External Action Service, Brussels, the previous day.

“The Roadmap to 2025 agreed at the recent Summit includes foreign policy, focus on specific areas such as climate change, connectivity strategy, etc. and the multilateral dimension of this partnership. Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific is a matter of growing interest for the EU, as it touches a number of important dimensions such as climate change, maritime security, blue economy,” said Mr. Argyropoulos.

The results of the experts’ workshop, as well as the selected papers, were presented during the virtual symposium by Ms. Stefania Benaglia, Manager of the EU India Think Tanks Twinning Initiative of the EU Public Diplomacy and Outreach Project.

EU-India TTTI policy papers selected:

  1. Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy (Free University of Brussels): Europe and India in the Indo-Pacific: Time to Work Towards a Common Vision
  2. Anand Kumar (National Maritime Foundation): EU-India cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region: Upholding distributive justice, sustainable development, and rule-based order at sea
  3. Velina Tchakaraova (Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy): The EU and India: A Geo-economic Approach towards Establishing a Far-Reaching Partnership in the Indo-Pacific region
  4. Rajesh Soami (National Maritime Foundation): An EU-India Partnership with IOR Island States: The Way-Ahead
  5. Ummu Salma Bava (Jawaharlal Nehru University): EU India Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region
  6. Patryk Kugiel (Polish Institute of International Affairs): Together at the High Table: Prospects for EU-India cooperation in the United Nations
  7. Mihir Swarup Sharma & Ria Kasliwal (Observer Research Foundation): A New Climate Finance Partnership
  8. Henrik Chetan Aspengren & Axel Nordenstam (Swedish Institute of International Affairs): A proposal for coordinated climate action: a multi-layered Indo-European opportunity
  9. Maaike Okano-Heijmans (The Netherlands Institute of International Relations – Clingendael Institute): Let’s go digital: EU-India cooperation in the digital age
  10. Stefano Greco (Chitkara Spaak Centre for Multidisciplinary European Studies): Including Health in the Transnational Political Agenda: EU-India Partnership and the Global Outbreak of Antimicrobial Resistance