How Delhi came to see Europe as a valuable strategic partner

Synopsis: The smaller European states and EU as a block has much to offer to India and vice versa, especially in the context of the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy. 

Introduction 

EU is considered as one of the most trusted partners, and therefore it would contribute to a sound and stable partnership. 

The recent bilateral meetings with Denmark and other smaller European countries is a reminder that smaller countries of Europe have much to offer in India’s economic, technological, and social transformation. 

Read more: EU unveils Indo-Pacific strategy
What one can expect from the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy?

EU Strategy can work along with the Quad in Indo-Pacific. Further, it can step up security cooperation with a number of Asian partners, including India.

Apart from that, it can have a much greater impact on the region in a wider range of areas like trade and investment, green partnerships, quality infrastructure, digital partnerships etc. 

What are the prospects of India-Europe relations now? 

India’s strategy is to “cultivate Europe” was not the top priority in the past. But now India is now focussing on developing a strong partnership with the EU and engage all its 27 members. 

As the deepening confrontation between the US and China begins to squeeze South East Asia, Europe is widely seen as widening the strategic options for the Indo-Pacific region. 

What does Europe offer to India? 

EU outlined a strategy for India in 2018 to focus on four themes — sustainable economic modernisation, promotion of a rules-based order, foreign policy coordination, and security cooperation. 

EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy seeks to promote an open and rules-based regional security architecture, including secure sea lines of communication.

EU and India agreed to resume free trade talks and develop a new connectivity partnership that would widen options for the world beyond the Belt and Road Initiative. 

What are the advantages for India if engaged with the EU? 

It could help strengthen the military balance and contribute to regional security in multiple other ways. 

It would also be a valuable complement to India’s Quad coalition with Australia, Japan and the United States. 

Europe — with greater economic weight, technological strength, and normative power — can boost India’s own quest for a multipolar world and a rebalanced Indo-Pacific. 

Source: This post is based on the article “How Delhi came to see Europe as a valuable strategic partner” published in “Indian Express” on 12th Oct 2021. 

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