What India can gain from Europe — and Europe from India

Source: The post is based on the article “C Raja Mohan writes on PM Modi in Paris: What India can gain from Europe — and Europe from India” published in The Indian Express on 12th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

News: India’s PM visit to Paris this week is expected to produce new agreements, especially in defense and space, and raise the bilateral strategic partnership to a higher level.

How might India contribute to European Security?

India’s PM visit to Paris may redefine India’s role in global security affairs, particularly with Europe.

India’s contribution during the World Wars is often forgotten. Nearly one million Indian soldiers served in the First World War and two million in the Second World War, playing a vital role in establishing peace in Europe.

This historical engagement could serve as a precedent for a renewed role in European security.

Why has India’s role in global security diminished?

India’s political alignment with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and its subsequent dependence on Russia for security support hampered its global security politics.

India’s strategic autonomy was constrained due to its fear of losing Russia’s backing on the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council.

This trend continues as evidenced by India’s silence over Russian aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

What are the reasons for India to take a fresh look at European security and prospects for renewing India’s role?

Changing security landscape in Europe: The NATO summit and the ongoing war in Ukraine, coupled with differing stances on resolving the conflict, call for fresh perspectives. As an emerging global power, India can play a vital role as an impartial mediator in European security matters.

Impact of European security on Asia: The outcomes of the war in Ukraine are expected to have profound consequences for Asian security. “Partnership without limits” unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping highlights the increasing engagement of Asian countries in European affairs.

Understanding France’s stance on China: Understanding French’s stance on China, which has generated controversy in Asia, is important for India. France’s attempts to de-risk its economic ties with China and diversify its Asian commercial engagement present opportunities for India.

Modernising India’s defence industry: France can play a vital role in modernising India’s defence industrial base through co-development and co-production of weapons. Strengthening India’s defence capabilities, in turn, can help stabilise the balance of power in Asia, indirectly contributing to European security.

Recalibrating India’s European strategy: The war in Ukraine offers a rare political incentive for India to recalibrate its European strategy, which has been long influenced by Russia. An integrated view of European security can help India emerge as a valuable interlocutor between the West and Russia.

Engagement with European security institutions: The need to engage deeper with European security institutions prompts India’s renewed interest. Working with institutions such as NATO, the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (INTCEN), and the intelligence-sharing forum among the EU’s national spy agencies, Club de Berne can help India play a more active role in global security.

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