Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Apr, 18, 2018

India, Sweden to step up cyber security, defence ties

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Geographical location of Sweden

Mains level: Proposed plan for enhancing defence cooperation


News

Call for cooperation

  1. India and Sweden has decided to step up cooperation in cyber security and defence production
  2. They also agreed to strengthen their defence and security ties
    (The Indian PM is currently in Sweden)
  3. The two sides decided to explore the finalisation of a bilateral agreement on exchange and mutual protection of classified information for cooperation in defence

Special emphasis on defence ties

  1. The joint statement said both countries will enhance Indo-Swedish dialogue on defence cooperation
  2. They will also “proceed with India-Sweden defence seminars in India and Sweden in 2018-19 and explore, together with the ISBLRT, opportunities for investment in Defence Production Corridors in India”,
  3. “encourage industry partners to develop supply chains for small and medium sized enterprises with major Defence & Aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers”
Apr, 17, 2018

[pib] Visit of Prime Minister of India to Sweden

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nordic groupSweden India Joint Action Plan

Mains level: New trend in Indian diplomacy and its usefulness


News:

A new trend in Indian diplomacy — Collective engagement with key regional groups

  • In Stockholm, Modi met the leaders of the Nordic group — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden — both collectively and individually. This marks an end to the prolonged Indian neglect of a very important sub-region that has always punched way above its weight in the world.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart has agreed upon a joint action plan (JAP) for both countries to take forward a wide range of initiatives in defence, trade and investment, counterterrorism, renewable energy, smart cities, women’s skill development, space and science and healthcare.
  • Characterising the JAP as a “win-win partnership” for New Delhi and Stockholm, Mr. Modi underscored the critical role of the defence sector and security initiatives as a pillar of the bilateral relationship.
  • On counterterrorism, Mr. Modi and Mr. Löfven emphasised that the global counterterrorism legal framework should be regularly updated to address the changing threat of terrorism with strength.
  • Under the Sweden-India Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future, the Swedish government will kick start Innovation Partnership by providing up to 50 million Swedish kronor (over $59 million) for innovation cooperation in the field of smart cities and sustainability.

Sweden India Joint Action Plan

To further promote bilateral cooperation, they decided on the following India-Sweden Joint Action Plan, under which India and Sweden, through relevant ministries, agencies and actors, aim to:

Innovation

  • Initiate a multi-stake holder Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future, underpinning our mutual commitment to drive prosperity and growth and address societal challenges such as climate change and sustainable development through innovation.
  • Carry out dialogue and cooperative activities in the field of intellectual property rights under the MoU signed between the Swedish Patent Registration Office and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of India.

Trade and investment

  • Encourage trade and facilitate investment in both directions, such as Sweden’s investment in India through ‘Invest India’ and Indian investment in Sweden through ‘Business Sweden’. –
  • Encourage the work of the India-Sweden Business Leaders Round Table (ISBLRT) to further strengthen India-Sweden business cooperation within inter alia smart cities, digitization, skills development and defence, and to move its relations, ideas, partnerships and recommendations forward.

Smart Cities and Next Generation Transport

  • Exchange knowledge and explore cooperation on smart cities, including transit-oriented urban development, air pollution control, waste management, waste-to-energy, waste-water treatment, district cooling and circular economy, including through dialogue and capacity building. –
  • Exchange know-how and explore cooperation in the areas of electro-mobility as well as renewable fuels.
  • Exchange know-how and explore cooperation in the area of railways, such as railway policy development, safety, training and operation and maintenance of railways.

Smart, sustainable and renewable energy

  • Engage and seek mutual collaboration on the demonstration and development of smart grid technologies such as smart metering, demand response, power quality management, distribution automation, electric vehicle/charging infrastructure as well as renewable integration, through research, capacity building, policy cooperation and learning on market design prerequisites including business models.
  • Expand research, innovation and business cooperation on new innovative energy technologies through the India-Sweden Innovations’ Accelerator, focusing on technologies to utilise renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Women’s skills development and empowerment

  • Encourage joint efforts towards women’s empowerment by skilling employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women through projects such as “Kraftsamla”- a project undertaken by Swedish and Indian actors in Pune, Maharashtra which provides skills training for women in jobs suitable for industry such as forklift drivers, warehouse managers, assembly operators and more.

Defence

  • Explore the finalization of a bilateral agreement on exchange and mutual protection of classified information for cooperation in the defence area.
  • Enhance Indo-Swedish dialogue on defence cooperation. Proceed with India-Sweden defence seminars in India and Sweden in 2018-19 and explore, together with the ISBLRT, opportunities for investment in Defence Production Corridors in India
  • Encourage industry partners to develop supply chains for small and medium sized enterprises (SME) with major Defence & Aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)

Space and science

  • Acknowledge the importance of bilateral cooperation on space research, technology, innovation and applications. Encourage the space agencies and other space entities to enhance space cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding, particularly in Earth observation, planetary exploration and satellite ground station activities, through inter alia an Indo-Swedish Space Seminar and a visit by an Indian delegation to Swedish space establishments.
  • Explore possible collaboration between the European Spallation Source (ESS), hosted by Sweden, and Indian partners

Health and Life Sciences

  • Enhance collaboration on the priority issues identified in the field of health, such as health research, pharmacovigilance and anti-microbial resistance, under the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of health care and public health.
Apr, 17, 2018

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: Nordic cool

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India-Nordic Summit, Nordic group, BIMSTEC, BRICS

Mains level: India’s new foreign policy and its role in raising India’s stature at global stage


Context

A new trend in Indian diplomacy

  1. With his Sweden tour, PM Modi will be confirming a new trend in Indian diplomacy — collective engagement with key regional groups
  2. Earlier this year, at the annual Republic Day celebrations, the PM hosted all the 10 leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations
  3. In 2016, the PM had invited colleagues from the Bay of Bengal littoral (BIMSTEC) to join the BRICS summit in Goa
  4. And in 2015, he hosted all leaders from Africa in Delhi

Breaking the old mould

  1. Many major powers like the US and China do take advantage of the possibilities for joint engagement with regional leaders
  2. In the past, Indian diplomacy was excessively focused on the bilateral
  3. Today, it is breaking that mould

Nordic summit

  1. India and Sweden will jointly organize the India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm
  2. The summit will also be attended by the prime ministers of Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland
  3. PM Modi will meet the leaders of the Nordic group — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden — both collectively and individually

Importance of the visit

  1. India can reap significant long-term rewards if Modi’s visit can lay the foundation for a sustained engagement with a part of the world that is often called the “Norden” — or simply the north
  2. The Nordics are widely admired for their instinct for promoting peace, strengthening universal human values and more broadly for doing good

Commonalities between India & Nordic region

  1. The idea of mediating conflicts, which is very much part of India’s internal and international experience, is quite dear to the Nordics
  2. The Nordic enthusiasm for moralpolitik inevitably found great affinity with Nehruvian India
  3. At the dawn of Independence, India was deeply attracted to the Nordic claims of finding a “third way” between capitalism and socialism
  4. From the 1950s to the mid-1980s, as leaders of the neutral and non-aligned nations, India and Sweden led the campaign for nuclear arms control and disarmament

Norden’s defense & innovation ecosystem

  1. Sweden always had strong defense industry
  2. Beyond defence, there is a deep engineering talent in the Norden and the region is an impressive champion of technological innovation
  3. This fits in well with Delhi’s current hopes for igniting the innovation revolution in India

Help in the social sector

  1. As a region that helped advance the idea of an efficient welfare state, the Norden can be an important partner for India’s own experiments to strengthen its social sector through technological and policy innovation

Way forward

  1. An India that is less inhibited about trade liberalization and more open to commercial, technological and civil society partnerships will find the Norden ready to accelerate its internal modernization and international rise
Apr, 14, 2018

India, U.K. in talks over education

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The issue related to the 1-year master degree programme discussed in the newscard.


News

Focus on education

  1. India and the United Kingdom (U.K.) are holding talks to seal an agreement on mutual recognition of educational qualifications
  2. Education was a major area of bilateral cooperation between the two sides which was likely to feature in official discussions during the upcoming London visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Contribution of education sector in bilateral ties

  1. England have 14,000 masters students from India in the U.K. Students form an important part of bilateral ties

An important issue

  1. The one-year masters degrees given by the UK universities are not recognised in India
  2. So discussion is under way for an agreement to mutually recognise these degrees
  3. This will open up more opportunities for the students and this also seems to be fair to the students

Possible reason behind the unrecognition of the one year course

  1. One of the factors that had prevented India from recognising the one-year master courses was the fact that several less-reputed educational institutions were also found to be offering such courses, often jeopardising academic prospects of students
  2. But the British government had undertaken steps to prevent Indian students from falling for such institutions

Future plans

  1. India last month signed an agreement on mutual recognition of educational degrees with France, during the visit of President Emmanuel Macron to Delhi
  2. The British government observed that ongoing talks between London and Delhi were on the lines of the Indo-France one
Apr, 06, 2018

Narendra Modi to visit Sweden, UK for bilateral talks and two multilateral summits

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India-Nordic Summit, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

Mains level: India’s role in various multilateral forums


News

Visit to two key European countries

  1. PM Modi will visit Sweden and the UK between 16-20 April for bilateral meetings with the two key European countries as well as two multilateral summits
  2. The summits are- the India-Nordic Summit and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

Back2Basics

India-Nordic Summit

  1. The first Indo-Nordic summit, focusing on business and investment, is scheduled to take place in Sweden in April 2018
  2. The summit is set to attract major investors for the government’s “Make in India” initiative

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

  1. CHOGM is a biennial summit meeting of the heads of government from all Commonwealth nations
  2. Every two years the meeting is held in a different member state and is chaired by that nation’s respective Prime Minister or President who becomes the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office until the next meeting
  3. The meetings originated with the leaders of the self-governing colonies of the British Empire
  4. The First Colonial Conference in 1887 was followed by periodic meetings, known as Imperial Conferences from 1907
  5. The majority of the important decisions are held not in the main meetings themselves, but at the informal ‘retreats’
Mar, 23, 2018

Odisha: KISS to host ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: British Council, Commonwealth Big Lunch

Mains level: India’s relationship with Britain & commonwealth countries


News

70 years of inception of British Council

  1. Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, in partnership with British Council, India, is hosting the ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’
  2. High Commissioners, Deputy High Commissioners and representatives from High Commissions of 53 Commonwealth countries and delegates from British Council will be in attendance at the event
  3. The lunch is being organized to celebrate 70 years of inception of British Council in Commonwealth countries
  4. KISS is the only organization from Asia to be selected by British Council to host the Commonwealth Big Lunch

Back2Basics

Commonwealth Big Lunch

  1. The Commonwealth Big Lunch is an international initiative launched by UK PM Theresa May
  2. The initiative comes as the UK is set to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, bringing together up to 52 leaders from across the Commonwealth to London and Windsor from 16-20 April
  3. The motto of the programme is to encourage people to get together to celebrate their Commonwealth connections through food
Jan, 22, 2018

[op-ed snap] Natural Partners

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Eurozone, Brexit

Mains level: India-EU partnership


Context

Europe recovering

  1. Growth is picking up in the Eurozone
  2. Unemployment is at its lowest in the past nine years
  3. The challenges that the EU has faced recently have also been a driver for greater integration

India-EU share similar challenges and values

  1. The challenges are: Climate change and terrorism
  2. Similar values: Both believe in multilateralism, cooperation, and a rules-based international order rather than the unilateral use of force and coercion
  3. Both believe democracy, human rights and the rule of law to be the best means to secure freedom and prosperity for our peoples

Partnership between the EU and India

  1. Today, the EU is India’s largest trading partner and investor
  2. This will hardly change after Brexit
  3. European companies are investing in India and partnering with Indian companies
  4. Highly-qualified Indian workers have been contributing to the European economy for decades

EU-India security partnership

  1. The EU has gradually emerged as a strategic actor on the global scene
  2. The partnership between India and the EU as a whole has great potential

Way forward

  1. India should continue its momentum of engagement with EU
  2. It should take this partnership further and promote concrete cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, the Indian Ocean and cybersecurity
Oct, 31, 2017

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: New equations in Indo-Pacific

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: East Asia Summit, Commonwealth, Diego Garcia, Five Power Defence Arrangement, Cold War, pivot to Asia

Mains level: Rising importance of Indo-pacific and opportunities for India


Context

  1. Japan’s latest plan to revive the Indo-Pacific quadrilateral dialogue
  2. This will be a high-level dialogue between the officials of Japan, India, Australia and the United States
  3. Exploratory talks on the Japanese initiative are likely to take place between the officials of the four countries on the margin of the East Asia Summit next month in The Philippines

Move to associate the European powers

  1. Consultations are also on with France and Britain to associate them with the quad
  2. Why? The growing power imbalance in Asia amidst the rapid rise of China can’t be addressed by America’s Asian alliance system alone

Advantages of this association 

  1. France and Britain are democracies with maritime traditions which shaped the contemporary Indo-Pacific makes them natural candidates for working with the quad
  2. Due to the colonial inheritance, they have huge networks of political and military influence in the region
  3. The European powers, especially France, have many overseas territories in the Indo-Pacific
  4. The British-led Commonwealth has many small island states scattered all across the Indo-Pacific
  5. Both France and Britain have military presence and security arrangements in the Indian Ocean
  6. Britain continues to control Diego Garcia
  7. It also leads the Five Power Defence Arrangement (involving Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand) set up in 1971
  8. France has a variety of coordination mechanisms in the Pacific with the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand

 Indo-Pacific: A big market for arms

  1. The Indo-Pacific is also a major market for the European arms industry
  2. Middle-East has always been a major destination for European arms sales
  3. China’s military modernization and the response from its neighbors has heated up the Asian arms bazaar
  4. There is a rush to build or modernize the submarine arm of most Asian navies, and the European powers are major contenders

Resurgence of Indo-Pacific

  1. After the Cold War came to an end, both Paris and London seemed preoccupied with the geopolitics of Europe and its immediate neighborhood in Eurasia and the Middle East
  2. As Asia and the Indo-Pacific emerged as the world’s most important strategic theatres, France and Britain began to pay greater attention
  3. After the US announced its pivot to Asia at the beginning of this decade, France and Britain signaled that they will no longer neglect the Indo-Pacific
  4. Germany, which did not succeed in establishing substantive presence during the colonial era, has also begun to focus on the Indian Ocean
  5. More than 70 percent of Europe’s trade passes through the Indo-Pacific
  6. As a collective, the European Union has also begun to take an active interest in the security affairs of the Indian Ocean

India’s present engagements with France, Britain and other European nations

  1. India already has a strong bilateral security engagement with countries like France and Britain
  2. Issues relating to maritime security have been at the top of the growing partnerships with the European nations

What needs to be done now?

  1. India needs to bring together its bilateral cooperation with individual European countries into a comprehensive strategic framework
  2. To be more effective in the vast littoral, India needs to
  • intensify the exchange of maritime intelligence
  • negotiate agreements to share naval infrastructure facilities in the littoral
  • put in place logistical support arrangements with its European partners
Oct, 26, 2017

No dilution of India, EU trade pact: official

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement, EU countries and associated geographical features

Mains level: India EU FTA and way forward


News

Free Trade agreement won’t be scaled down

  1. India and the European Union are not considering a scaled-down version of the Free Trade Agreement between them
  2. An early harvest scheme [to identify a limited number of areas pending the conclusion of FTA talks] is not being considered
  3. The Free Trade Agreement negotiations have been stalled since 2013

About FTA

  1. The negotiations on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement had begun in 2007 in order to ensure greater access to “each other’s markets for goods, services and to public procurement contracts

Back2Basics

Levels of Economic integration

Image source

Early Harvest scheme

  1. Early harvest scheme is a precursor to a free trade agreement (FTA) between two trading partners
  2. This is to help the two trading countries to identify certain products for tariff liberalization pending the conclusion of FTA negotiation
  3. It is primarily a confidence-building measure
Oct, 10, 2017

India-EU talks in a muddle

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the BTIA

Mains level: The BTIA is an important trade agreement for the Indian Economy. Failure to take decision on it can have long lasting effects on the Indian Economy.


News

Disappointment at the Indo-EU Summit

  1. German ambassador is disappointed at the failure of the resumption of talks on the investment and free trade agreement
  2. There is no decision to resume negotiations on free trade agreement despite the possibility being at hand
  3. The EU leaders and PM Narendra Modi failed to take such a decision during the summit

What is BTIA?

  1. India and the European Commission (with a negotiating mandate from the European Council) initiated negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) called the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement(BTIA) in 2007
  2. More than seven rounds of negotiations have been completed without reaching a Free Trade Agreement

Disappointment of the EU diplomats

  1. Disappointment of the EU diplomats is a signal of the growing unhappiness among European diplomats over the long period it has taken to get talks on the BTIA
Oct, 09, 2017

[ op-ed snap] Navigating a Changing World

 

Note4students

Mains Paper 3| Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: European Union

Mains level: India-EU relations esp. in the economic sphere

 


News

Context-

  1. The article talks about obstacles in the trade pact between India and the EU and how to overcome them.

 

Change in global dynamics since the last talks held in 2016-

  1. Brexit has happened.
  2. Elections in Germany and France
  3. Visible rifts between eastern and western countries on what constitute core EU values
  4. Election in the US and consequent retreat of the US from its leadership of the west

 

IMPORTANT TAKEAWAYS

  1. The reference to India and EU as “world’s largest democracies”-

Such a statement is generally made with reference to sovereign countries. Interestingly, EU per se is not a sovereign country but a group of sovereign countries. Such a mention is more notable this time in light of the U.S.’s uncertain position on the international stage and EU’s need for a stronger union post Brexit.

  1. The countries have reiterated their commitment for a “Rules based” and “Multipolar” world

 Rules based world: This term assumes significance on the backdrop of the US going back on its promises on Paris climate agreement and the probability of the same on the Iran Nuclear deal

Multipolar world: The reference to multipolarity is a recognition that there is more than just one chair at the top table, not just with the U.S.’s shifting position but also due to Russia and China’s ascent.

  1. The India-EU joint statement on terrorism this year called for “decisive and concerted actions” against Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other purveyors of terror; this will further bolster India’s efforts to call out Pakistan on the issue of sponsoring terror.

 

Roadblocks in talks on BTIA-

  1. Recent summits have been conspicuous by the absence of talks on the BTIA (Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement). There is disagreement on whether the protection of foreign investments will be part of the BTIA or dealt with in a stand-alone treaty
  2. Indian demand for liberalising the access to natural persons- India wanting a greater ease of movement of temporary skilled workers to provide services in the EU and the EU wanting greater market access for its automobiles and its wines and spirits. Wanting an open market for automobiles and liquor but unduly restricting the movement of natural persons (with barriers in terms of salary thresholds, recognition of qualifications, visa fees, social security and so forth) seems to be a case of double standards.
  3. EU not granting “data secure” certification to India – a condition that facilitates the cross-border transfer of personal data. India does not have a stand-alone law on data privacy and this could be acting as a barrier too as EU is very seriously taking steps to secure digital data privacy of its citizens.

Way forward-

  1. Convergence of values and interests:
    EU is India’s largest trade partner (over 100 billion Euros in bilateral trade of goods and services last year). EU, like India, is also wary of China’s political and economic dominance.
  2. Uncertainty over EU’s future in the next decade: With Brexit and other important developments, there is no clarity about what presence will EU have in the next decade. Hence, cementing trade ties with India will help strengthen EU’s economic future.
  3. “Data secure” certification: India needs to enact a strong Data Privacy Law which protects the digital data privacy of its citizens. This is necessary to protect the economic interests of the Indian IT industry.
  4. India is right to strike a hard bargain as far as the temporary movement of skilled workers is concerned. The EU and other developed countries have been historically reluctant about moving forward on this and the issue has become more challenging with the rise of populism and protectionism in Europe.

 


Back2basics

  1. European Union: It is the political and economic union of the 28 member states of Europe. It works in a special environment where the monetary policy of the entire European Union is decided by the European Central Bank while the fiscal policies are decided by the member countries themselves. The EU has a common currency called the Euro. Check this image for hierarchy of economic integration.
Oct, 07, 2017

India, EU name Dawood, Hafiz Saeed, Rehman Lakhvi in joint fight against terror

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: European Union, European Council, European Commission

Mains level:India-EU relations and its impact on India- Pakistan relations

 


News

Context-

  1. The article talks about major announcements in the India- EU Joint Statement.
  2. The statement was released at the 14th India-EU Summit in New Delhi.

 

What is the statement?

  1. This statement highlights the security co-operation between India and the EU.
  2. In a first, India and the European Union (EU) have named three globally proscribed terrorists — Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim — in their joint statement.
  3. A separate joint statement titled “Co-operation in combating terrorism” has also been released which includes names of the above-mentioned terrorists as well as the terror outfits associated with them.
  4. This joint declaration asserts the determination of both the parties to counter violent extremism and radicalisation especially online.
  5. It also talks about collectively dealing with foreign terrorist, terrorist financing and arms supply.
  6. The statement expressed concern over the violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar and noted that the violence was caused by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
  7. The statement not only condemned the acts of terror conducted on Indian soil but also those conducted on the European soil. Eg. Uri, Pathankot, Brussels, Nice etc.
  8. No major headway on the India-EU Free Trade Agreement. The agreement, however, noted the efforts for relaunching the talks to negotiate India-EU Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).

 

What is the significance?

  1. The EU had recognised the Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul- etc as terror outfits in the previous India-EU summit. However, this is the first time that EU has recognised Hafiz Saeez, Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim as terrorists.
  2. This is a step forward in building up of a consensus against Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorism.
  3. The EU is a major player in the United Nations and convergence in views on terrorism will be essential to designate Masood Azhar (Chief of Jaish-E-Mohammed).

 


Back2basics

  1. European Union: It is the political and economic union of the 28 member states of Europe. It works in a special environment where the monetary policy of the entire European Union is decided by the European Central Bank while the fiscal policies are decided by the member countries themselves. The EU has a common currency called the Euro. Check this image for hierarchy of economic integration.
  2. European Council: It is charged with defining the European Union’s (EU) overall political direction and priorities, it is the institution of the EUthat comprises the heads of state or government of the member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.
  3. European Commission: It is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.
Oct, 06, 2017

[op-ed snap] Partners, naturally

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The article effectively explains the positive relations between the two partners.


News

Context

  1. The article is written by the President of the EU on Indo-Europe relationship.

India-EU natural relation

  1. Every year, millions of Europeans come to India
  2. Millions of Indians make the reverse trip to Europe to visit, live, work or study
  3. Both are the two largest democracies in the world
  4. Both share the same values of freedom, equality and tolerance
  5. Work of both go from fighting climate change and terrorism to cooperating on cyber security and digital

14th EU-India Summit

  1. India and EU will work to strengthen their excellent partnership
  2. EU message to India will be that Europe is open for business and will continue to remain so

Why is EU important for India, as an open market?

  1. The EU is the world’s biggest open market and the world’s second largest economy
  2. EU is the largest trading partner for 80 countries, including India
  3. EU’s economy is growing faster than that of the United States and eight million new jobs have been created
  4. EU already trade more than 100 billion euro worth of goods and services every year with India

European Investment Bank in India

  1. The European Investment Bank has now set up an office in New Delhi 
  2. European loans have helped to finance the construction of the Lucknow Metro and solar power schemes across the country

The way forward

  1. EU-India Free Trade Agreement should resume
  2. Europe will support India’s ambitious goals through investment and expertise in green buildings, renewable energy, waste management and air pollution
  3. Indian scientists have received research grants to work with their European counterparts on medical breakthroughs or cutting-edge technologies and will continue in future
Aug, 11, 2017

Putting the sun to work

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics of Solar Power Generation

Mains level: Article shows greater collaboration of India and UK at minor level of University and Villages.


News

Grant from UK Government

  1. A consortium of 12 Indian and British universities has received a £7 million grant from the U.K. government to build self-sufficient solar-powered buildings in remote Indian villages
  2. This consortium also includes Oxford and Cambridge

Project Sunrise

  1. The grant is part of a new solar project called ‘SUNRISE
  2. This project aimed at developing printed photovoltaic cells and new manufacturing processes which can be used to make solar energy products in India
  3. Another aim of SUNRISE project for India is to provide a real-life example which proves that this technology works and that it is appropriate within communities
  4. The plan is that it will encourage local industries to manufacture affordable prefabricated buildings that can generate, store and release their own power
Nov, 08, 2016

Vijay Mallya among 57 fugitives India wants UK to send back

  1. Event: meeting between PM Narendra Modi and British PM Theresa May
  2. What: India has asked the UK to return 57 fugitives, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, and members of some Sikh extremist groups
  3. The list also includes those about whom information is required under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or Letters Rogatories
  4. The meeting also focused on greater cooperation to counter illegal activities and greater terrorism
Nov, 07, 2016

Theresa May’s India visit: Key issues expected to be on the agenda

  1. Event: British PM Theresa May arrived in India late Sunday on a 3 day visit that aimed at boosting economic ties
  2. Key issues: She will address an India-UK Technology summit where she will pitch for partnerships between Indian and British companies to implement India’s flagship programmes
  3. For India, the priority is the question of immigration
  4. Britain has announced changes in immigration rules—including higher salary thresholds—that will affect Indian professionals and IT companies
  5. India could press for the extradition of embattled UB group chairman Vijay Mallya
  6. New Delhi could look for a strong statement on terrorism from Britain
Oct, 25, 2016

India, EFTA to resume FTA talks this week in Geneva II

  1. The proposed pact covers trade in goods and services, market access for investments, protection of intellectual property and public procurement
  2. Issues: EFTA wants India to commit more in IPR. They were also demanding for data exclusivity, which India is completely opposed to
  3. The two way trade between the regions stood at USD 21.5 billion in 2015-16 as against USD 24.5 billion in the previous fiscal
  4. The trade gap is highly in the favour of EFTA group
Oct, 25, 2016

India, EFTA to resume FTA talks this week in Geneva I

  1. Event: India and the EFTA, a bloc of four European countries will resume the long—stalled negotiations
  2. Purpose: A proposed free trade agreement
  3. The four EFTA members are – Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
  4. The trade pact talks had started in October 2008
Oct, 17, 2016

India rekindles bond with Hungary

  1. Event: Highest level visit in decades by a ranking Indian leader to Hungary, by Vice-President Hamid Ansari
  2. Two memoranda of cooperation were signed relating to water management and cooperation between the Indian Council for World Affairs and the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary
  3. Cooperation in defence industry, agriculture and film making was also initiated
  4. Background: Hungary has extended support to India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group
  5. And in the context of the post-Brexit uncertainties for Indian business and industry in the United Kingdom
  6. The visit is expected to revive ties between the countries. Both countries acknowledged that relations have been neglected recently
Aug, 11, 2016

India-Croatia economic cooperation

  1. News: Cabinet approved the signing and ratification of an agreement between India and Croatia on economic cooperation
  2. Background: The countries had earlier signed an agreement on trade and economic cooperation in September 1994
  3. Aim: To promote and develop bilateral trade and economic relations
  4. Continuity: Signing of the new agreement between India and Croatia would be a step in continuity as the existing agreement expired in November 2009
  5. Stats: The average bilateral trade growth was 17.44% during the last three years and stood at $205.04 million in 2014-15
May, 27, 2016

SC allows Italian marine to go home

  1. Context: The Supreme Court allowed Italian marine Salvatore Girone to go Italy
  2. He has been allowed to go home on humanitarian basis
  3. Earlier: In September 2014, the court had allowed Mr. Girone’s compatriot to leave for Italy after he suffered a stroke
  4. He will have to return if an international tribunal decides that India has jurisdiction to try the marines for the deaths of two Kerala fishermen
  5. SC had suspended all court proceedings in India during August 2015 after Italy moved the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
  6. Salvatore Girone is charged for killing two Kerala fishermen in 2012
Apr, 27, 2016

EU had offered India gradual, asymmetric elimination of tariffs

  1. Context: Issue of halted BTIA negotiations between India & EU
  2. EU: Offered India the possibility of asymmetric and gradual elimination of tariffs in the car and car parts and wines and spirits sectors as part of the negotiations on BTIA
  3. Duties: EU exporters face Indian import duties of up to 100% on car and car parts and 150% on wines and spirits
  4. Hurdle: Absence of agreement in these sectors has contributed to lack of progress on BTIA despite last month’s summit level talks between India and the EU
Apr, 15, 2016

India blames EU for FTA talks delay

  1. Context: European Ambassador’s comment that EU is interested in an ambitious and comprehensive FTA with India
  2. News: Commerce Minister has blamed the EU for delaying talks on the proposed India-EU Free Trade Agreement
  3. In the recent India-EU Summit, both sides welcomed the decision to re-engage in discussion to further the negotiations
  4. BTIA: The EU-India FTA is formally known as EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement
Apr, 11, 2016

India-EU free trade impasse may end: CII

  1. Context: Efforts to end a deadlock on the proposed EU Free Trade Agreement
  2. News: Confederation of Indian Industry is expecting some forward movement in the FTA negotiations between India and EU
  3. Reason: Indian industry is ready to grant greater market access to European Union firms in areas such as automobiles, wines and spirits
  4. India is looking for same in case garments, automobiles, automobile components and services sector
  5. India’s main demands includes data security status, easier temporary movement of skilled professionals and seamless intra-corporate movement
  6. Data Security Status: It is crucial for India’s IT sector to do more business with the EU firm
Apr, 01, 2016

EU-India Agenda for Action 2020

  1. Context: The agenda was released after the 13th India-EU Summit at Brussels
  2. Take-aways: India and the EU have agreed to implement a framework to boost European investments in India
  3. To continue talks on concluding a bilateral trade and investment pact
  4. To use existing arrangements to resolve trade irritants
Mar, 31, 2016

Modi can be a major ally in war against terror: EU lawmakers

  1. Context: Indian PM’s visit to EU headquarters at Brussels for India-EU Summit
  2. News: The European Parliament believes India can be a major ally of the EU in the global war against terror
  3. India has the “first-hand knowledge” of dealing with such issues
  4. India and EU will focus on overlapping interests, including maritime security, terrorism, space and cyber defence
Mar, 30, 2016

India, EU to discuss trade, ‘sensitive bilateral issues’ at Brussels Summit

  1. News: India EU summit will witness an attempt from both sides to kick start the stalled talks on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)
  2. Context: BTIA is a free trade agreement between India and the European Union
  3. Relevance: It provides an opportunity for leaders to raise more sensitive bilateral issues
  4. Such as the ongoing international arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in regard to the case of 2 Italian Marines
  5. Summit Agenda: To endorse an EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 which will set strategic priorities for the next 5 yrs
  6. Joint declarations specifically address projects including the ‘Indo-EU Water Partnership’ regarding the Indian govt’s ‘Clean Ganga’ and ‘Clean India’ projects
  7. Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), addressing regular and irregular migration, trafficking, a joint declaration on terrorism
Mar, 28, 2016

Breakthrough unlikely in India-EU FTA negotiations

  1. What? India and EU are unlikely to make a breakthrough in stalled FTA during PM’s visit to Brussels to attend the 13th India-EU Summit
  2. Why? Both issued cautious statements ahead of summit showing varied expectations
Mar, 23, 2016

PM to fly to Brussels as planned

  1. News: PM Modi is scheduled to travel to Brussels on his way to the U.S.
  2. Context: Will attend the European Union-India Summit and hold bilateral talks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel
  3. Summit resume: After a break of 4 yrs, will see the resumption of talks on Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), as the Free Trade Agreement(FTA) is known
  4. Focus: EU support to India on climate change cooperation, clean water projects and in particular, the Namami Ganga project
  5. Issues on Table: Cooperation on fighting terror and deradicalisation and IS-related security issues
  6. Other Events: Apart from the bilateral meeting and the EU-India summit, Mr. Modi will attend an event organised for the Indian diaspora
Feb, 20, 2016

Modi to attend summit of EU, India in Brussels

  1. Context: PM Modi will travel to Brussels for the EU-India summit on March 30
  2. Background: Summit is held after a long gap of 4 years due to suspension of talks on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)
  3. Concern: Some obstacles preventing the resumption of the India-EU FTA talks that were suspended in 2013 after 16 rounds of negotiation
  4. What EU wants from India? To substantially bring down the “high” duties on automobiles as a pre-condition for resumption of the FTA negotiations
  5. Why? because, India’s import duty on cars range from 60-120 per cent as against the EU’s 10 per cent