From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Global Gateway initiative
Mains level : Paper 2- Indo-EU partnership in Indo-Pacific
Europe and its key Indo-Pacific partners are joining forces to deliver a positive agenda for the region at the ministerial Forum to be held in Paris.
Importance of Indo-Pacific for EU
- The issues at stake in this crucial region, including security challenges, are of concern to all EU countries.
- EU unveiled EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, in September 2021.
- Europe can offer the countries of the region a sustainable, transparent model for preserving their sovereignty, and an alternative to other models, such as China’s.
- Addressing the connectivity and infrastructure need: There are immense connectivity and infrastructure needs in the Indo-Pacific.
- But these needs should not force the countries of the region into unsustainable dependencies.
- The EU’s Global Gateway initiative unveiled in December 2021 hopes to address this by pooling the resources of the EU’s institutions and its 27 member states to raise 300 billion euros to build sustainable links.
- India’s role: The EU and India have already concluded a Connectivity Partnership (last May in Porto), which can be a pillar of this wider initiative.
- The Indo-Pacific is a crucial region for tackling global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity protection and health resilience.
- At the Forum, the EU will present the support it can provide to countries of the region, including in terms of green finance, to achieve their ecological transitions in a just manner.
- The ministers will also discuss concrete steps to strengthen health sovereignty and promote the “One Health” approach to the pandemic response.
Role of France and India in the region
- France, itself a nation of the Indo-Pacific, has a long-standing commitment to upholding the law of the sea in the region, particularly through our permanent naval presence and joint exercises, such as our annual “Varuna” drills with India.
- In the fields of biodiversity protection and plastic pollution, France and India can act together to spur multilateral action, as exemplified by India’s decision to join the France-initiated international coalition to protect 30 per cent of the land and seas by 2030 (High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People).
- Cooperation between France and India on protected areas and national parks can also be expanded at the Indo-Pacific scale.
- At the forum, France will propose the creation of an Indo-Pacific health campus, to be established in India, to bring together India’s pharmaceutical prowess and Europe’s technological capacity for the benefit of the region.
In a world of growing tensions, the core goal of France’s EU Presidency is to strengthen Europe’s sovereignty and its ability to decide its own fate. This endeavour matches India’s fundamental aspiration for strategic autonomy.