Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: Reaching out to Europe


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Alliance for Multilateralism

Mains level : Importance of Eurasia for India


The growing importance of Eurasia for India’s changing geopolitics is evident. Various ideas about Eurasia

  • India does not believe that there is tension between the concepts of Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific. 
  • Russia and China see the “Indo-Pacific” as an effort to contain China.
  • The US believes that the promotion of “Eurasia” is an idea of China and Russia to marginalise the US in the continent.

Indian Ocean

  • India is located at the crossroads of Asia and at the heart of the Indian Ocean. 
  • India sees itself as a maritime power in the Indo-Pacific with interests in continental Eurasia. 
  • Thus Europe is seen as the right partner in overcoming the presumed tension between the two concepts. 
  • The importance of India’s new alliance with France is highlighted through IN-FRA, which is critical for India in both the maritime and continental domains.

How a partnership with Indo-Pacific helps

  • Renewed tensions between Russia and the West have reduced chances for India to maneuver. France is leading a new effort to ease the conflict between Russia and the West. 
  • Russia was suspended from the G8 forum after its intervention in Ukraine in 2014. France and Germany are planning to make a fresh bid to resolve the European stand-off with Russia on Ukraine.
  • Japan has consistently sought to resolve the long-standing territorial dispute with Russia and make Moscow a partner in the Japanese strategy for the Indo-Pacific. 
  • France is ready to work with India in developing new coalitions to stabilise the Indo-Pacific. It wants to prevent the littoral from becoming a hostage to the vagaries of US-China relations.
  • US-China tensions over trade. India should support the initiative by France, Japan and others to save the global trading system through much-needed reforms. Working with Europe and Japan might lend greater weight and credence to India’s trade diplomacy.
  • India has a strong interest in joining the “Alliance for Multilateralism” that calls for modernising international institutions, strengthening the rules-based order and promoting global, rather than national, solutions to global challenges.

Way ahead

  • India should also elevate Central Europe in the list of diplomatic priorities.
  • There is room for expanding cooperation between India and the Central European states. India’s traditional method of engaging Europe through big powers has neglected the enormous possibilities for mutual enrichment with other European states as well as the European Union. 
  • No prime minister has visited Hungary since Rajiv Gandhi in 1988 and Poland since Morarji Desai in 1979, underlines India’s strategic neglect of Central Europe all these decades. 



Alliance for Multilateralism

  • It is a German initiative backed by France.
  • It does not include the US, Russia, and China, but is drawing many middle powers like Japan and Canada in the developed world and South Africa in the developing world.
  • The alliance is set to be launched later this month on the margins of the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York. 
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