India, Europe and the Russian complication 

News: Recently, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected as the President of France. This comes amid the geopolitical waves being witnessed in Europe. The Ukraine war has persuaded Delhi to recalibrate its great power relations. For the first time since independence, India’s interests are now aligning with those of Europe as both can help reshape Eurasia as well as the Indo-Pacific. 

What are the challenges in India’s relationship with the Europe? 

India’s Russian connection had complicated Indian relations with Europe since early 20th Century. The Russian revolution of 1917 inspired large sections of the Indian national movement. During the Cold War, India-Russia partnership dominated India’s international relations.

In 2022, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has compelled Europe to embark on a costly effort to disconnect from Russia.  It presents a major near-term problem of balancing between Russia and Europe.  

What are the implications of the French Presidential election result? 

The elected French President is known to have laid a strong foundation for India’s strategic partnership with France.  

Under the banner of Emmanuel Macron, the role of French in the present geopolitics will remain the same. The outcomes of the election have sent a sigh of relief across Europe and America. It means the present Europe seems to be remained united against Russian aggression in coming days 

What are the factors that facilitate transformation of India’s ties with Europe? 

India and the EU have talked of a strategic partnership for two decades. Although, the partnership has struggled to realise it.  

The Ukraine invasion has put Delhi in acute strategic discomfort in the relationship between Russia and the West. India cannot sacrifice its growing ties to the West at the cost of historic relations with Russia. Russia is a declining economic weight. Russia’ growing international isolation begins to simplify India’s choices. Delhi has insisted that its silence is not an endorsement of Russian aggression. Therefore, Delhi is intensifying its engagement with Brussels.  

China adds a new imperative to India’s partnership with Europe. China has emerged as a great power. It now presents a generational challenge for Indian policymakers. Now, Moscow & Beijing have announced a partnership “without limits”. Therefore, the Chinese long-term political ambitions have been exposed after the declaration of Beijing’s geopolitical alliance with Moscow. Therefore, Europe can emerge as an important partner in letting India cope with the China challenge.  

The US is another factor in the India-EU relationship. The Ukraine crisis has underlined the US’s centrality in securing Europe against Russia.

– In Asia, the US also act as a critical factor in shaping peace and security amid Chinese assertion. Therefore, the US wants a strong European Union in Europe and Delhi would become a credible provider of regional security in Asia. The US wants India and Europe to build stronger ties with each other. 

Way Forward 

Both India and Europe are trying to reduce reliance on Russia. And over the longer term, a diminished Russia is bound to become less of a complicating factor in India’s engagement with Europe. 

Source: The post is based on an article “India, Europe and the Russian complication” published in the Indian Express on 26th April 2022. 

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