European Union and India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


EU citizenship and India


Indians and Pakistanis granted EU citizenship in 2014; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, June 22, 2016

See graphic :

Indians and Pakistanis granted EU citizenship in 2014

Defence relations

Military attaché: 2023

Sachin Parashar, Oct 26, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi : In a first, the European Union will appoint a military attaché in India as it looks to strengthen security and defence ties with the country, and also to add teeth to its Indo-Pacific strategy that it announced in 2021.

The appointment is significant, coming as it does amid EU’s pivot to the Indo-Pacific and its efforts to play a more consequential geopolitical role in the region since it set out its IndoPacific goals two years ago. The EU currently has a military attaché only in about a dozen countries.

EU’s new ambassador to India Herve Delphin told TOIthat the appointment in the EU Delegation to India will take place next month. “It’s a reaffirmation of the deepening of our cooperation in defence & security. We had adialogue on maritime security & cyber security. We will soon have one on counter-terrorism. If you look at where we were two years ago, and where we are now, the progress we have made is quite impressive,” said Delphin.

For India, which has accused Europe of remaining silent when the rules-based order was challenged in Asia, efforts by the EU to expand presence in the Indo-Pacific and to step up security cooperation are a long-awaited change. Amid some serious differences on India’s Russia policy last year, foreign minister S Jaishankar had advised Europe to grow out of the mindset that “Europe’s problems are the world’s problems but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems”.

Speaking about concerns over China’s assertiveness, Delphin said EU had a strong economic partnership with China, but it won’t allow its economic openness to be abused.

“Most of our trade and FDI in this region. It’s important that there’s stability in Indo-Pacific and escalation is contained. Also, that international laws, UNCLOS are abided by. We will resist any form of economic coercion. We have a strong economic partnership with China. But we’re also systemic rivals. We won’t allow our economic openness to be abused or international laws to be ignored,” said Delphin, who assumed office this week.

Delphin said the EU was no longer just an economic power. “People may have re alised it also in the way we reacted to Russia’s war on Ukraine. We have mobilised a significant amount of money to maintain the supply chain of weapons to Ukraine. We have changed a lot as a global security actor. There are concrete areas of cooperation with India as we develop Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) in the IndoPacific by European navies,” said the ambassador, adding that there’s genuine interest in both India and the EU to intensify security cooperation. The EU, which has done CMP in the northwest Indian Ocean, is also funding sustainable connectivity in the region through its Global Gateway initiative.

Free trade agreement

2013-18: differences, rather than negotiations

Indrani Bagchi, July 19, 2018: The Times of India

The India-EU free trade agreement is on the verge of death. In a few days, the two sides are expected to formally state, in diplomatic language, that FTA talks may no longer be resumed.

The EU has asked for two weeks to decide whether to go back to the table at all after India wrote to them. Sources say they are close to the conclusion that resumption of negotiations would be a fruitless exercise.

There have been no negotiations since 2013. In 2017, both at the India-Germany summit in June and the India-EU summit in October, there was an attempt to restart negotiations. But nothing happened.

Questioned, an EU official told TOI, “Following the EUIndia summit last October, EU and India had extensive and frank exchanges at political, chief negotiator and experts’ levels to evaluate whether conditions were right to resume negotiations. Both sides are now in the process of assessing the outcomes of those talks. For the time being, the EU-India trade negotiations have not been resumed.”

This comes at a time when EU has just signed its biggest ever trade deal with Japan and is negotiating another with New Zealand.

There is enough blame to go around.

European officials complain that India shows no flexibility in its trade negotiations, in particular, three areas where they want greater market access: dairy, automobiles and wine.EU officials TOI spoke to also said in the past five years, India is a very different kind of economy, so the old rules of negotiations cannot apply.

India, on the other hand, says EU has been rigid in giving access to services, while new data security and transparency laws will affect many Indian companies. Indian officials say EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker has been the most tough. In fact, in 2015-16, EU officials told India they had no time for New Delhi since they were then negotiating the TTIP with the US.

Indian negotiators now say India might be better off waiting for Brexit to happen before looking at EU. The UK has the lion’s share of India-EU trade and investment, and all signs appear to show that the UK is keen on working out a trade deal with India as they near their separation date. On the other hand, the UK’s departure might make FTA talks with EU easier — UK is the biggest block in denying Indian services entry into EU.

The UK has the lion’s share of India-EU trade and investment, and all signs appear to show that the UK is keen on working out a trade deal with India




July 14, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi: With the European Parliament adopting a resolution on Manipur that called upon the Indian government to take all necessary measures to stop the violence there, the government Thursday slammed the “interference” in India’s internal affairs calling it unacceptable and reflecting a colonial mindset.

The resolution had also called upon India to protect all religious minorities, especially the Christians, and denounced the allegedly nationalistic rhetoric deployed by BJP leaders. 
“We have seen that the European Parliament held a discussion on developments in Manipur and adopted a so-called Urgency Resolution. Such interference in India’s internal affairs is unacceptable, and reflects a colonial mindset,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. 
“Indian authorities at all levels, including the judiciary, are seized of the situation in Manipur and are taking steps to maintain peace and harmony and law and order,” he added. 
The European Parliament would be well advised to utilise its time more productively on its internal issues, said the government. India hadearlier reached out to the EU lawmakers explaining to them this was an internal matter of India.

The resolution denounced in “the strongest terms nationalistic rhetoric deployed by leading members of the Bharatiya Janata Party. ”

“Whereas violence in India’s Manipur state has erupted along ethnic and religious lines between the mainly Hindu Meitei community and the Christian Kuki tribe, leading to a cycle of violence with over 100 people killed, over 40,000 displaced and the destruction of property and places of worship. Whereas Manipur has previously faced secessionist insurgencies in which serious human rights abuses were committed. Whereas, in the latest round of violence human rights groups have accused the BJP led government in Manipur and nationally of implementing divisive ethno-nationalistic policies which oppress in particular religious minorities,” the resolution said.

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