Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Mapping: Baltic Travel Bubble

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Baltic Travel Bubble

Mains level : Travel restriction in times of COVID outbreak

The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have opened their borders to one another, creating a coronavirus “travel bubble” with an improvised idea to boost travel into their countries.

Mark the following things on Map:

1. Baltic Sea and its bordering nations

2. Irben Strait

3. Gulf of Riga

4. Gulf of Finland

Baltic Travel Bubble

  • The ‘Baltic travel bubble’ aims to facilitate the citizens of these three countries to travel within the region without hassles.
  • However, those who are coming from any other than these three countries would be required to follow self-isolation guidelines and stay in quarantine for exactly 14 days.
  • During the epidemic, Estonia and Lithuania closed their borders to non-citizens and all three nations placed mandatory quarantines for those entering for reasons related to non-work activities.
  • The region has been part of the European Union since 2004 and since 2007 has been a member of the European Schengen Free Travel Area.

Significance of the travel ease

  • The Baltic nations have shown trust in each other’s healthcare system and have concluded that they have been able to tackle the coronavirus outbreak efficiently.
  • For Asian countries including India, these developments can provide interesting pointers when lockdown relaxations pertaining to travel and flights are being considered.

Bonus: Try this question from CSP 2011

Between India and East Asia, the navigation-time and distance can be greatly reduced by which of the following?

1. Deepening the Malacca straits between Malaysia and Indonesia.

2. Opening a new canal across the Kra isthmus between the Gulf of Siam and Andaman Sea.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Explained: The EU data strategy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Read the attached story

The European Commission has recently released a “European strategy for data… to ensure the human-centric development of Artificial Intelligence” and a white paper on artificial intelligence.

EU data strategy

  • The new documents present a timeline for various projects, legislative frameworks, and initiatives by the European Union, and represent its recognition that it is slipping behind American and Chinese innovation.
  • The strategy lays out “why the EU should act now”.
  • The blueprint hopes to strengthen Europe’s local technology market by creating a “data single market” by 2030 to allow the free flow of data within the EU.
  • To aid a “data-agile economy”, the Commission hopes to implement an “enabling legislative framework for the governance of common European data spaces” by the latter half of the year.
  • By the beginning of 2021, the Commission will make high-value public sector data available free through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) — a pathway for two different applications to speak to each other.
  • Between 2021 and 2027, the Commission will invest in a High Impact Project to jump-start data infrastructure. Several other initiatives are laid out, including a cloud services marketplace.

Why such strategy?

  • The EU has the potential to be successful in the data-agile economy. It has the technology, the know-how and a highly skilled workforce.
  • However, competitors such as China and the US are already innovating quickly and projecting their concepts of data access and use across the globe, the strategy states.
  • With American and Chinese companies taking the lead on technological innovation, Europe is keen to up its own competitiveness.

What does the EU move mean for legislation?

  • Europe has been a frontrunner when it comes to technology regulation.
  • Its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) released in 2018 was a game-changer across the industry. In the recent strategy, the GDPR is seen as giving the “solid framework for digital trust.”
  • Parliamentarians are discussing India’s current Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill in a Joint Select Committee.
  • The recent draft of the PDP introduced a clause on non-personal data, mandating entities to hand over such data to the government on command.
  • This was not included in the draft proposed by the Justice B N Sri Krishna Committee in October 2018.
  • Some of the movement around the PDP Bill comes from a desire to strengthen India’s own data economy, similar to the EU’s desire.

Has India done anything similar?

  • The Union Cabinet approved the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) in 2012.
  • As part of the initiative, the government worked with the US government to release data.gov.in, a site of government data for public use.
  • The Economic Survey of 2018 envisioned a similar use of non-personal data.
  • Just as the EU’s strategy discusses “data for public good”, the chapter titled “Data ‘Of the People, By the People, For the People’” advocated that the government step in to sectors that private players ignore, marking the first time India’s Economic Survey has isolated “data” as a strategic focus.
  • Other data integration efforts have been announced or implemented by NITI Aayog (the National Data & Analytics Platform), the Smart Cities Mission (India Urban Data Exchange), and the Ministry of Rural Development (DISHA dashboard).
  • In 2018, the National Informatics Centre worked with PwC and other vendors to create a Centre of Excellence for Data Analytics aimed at providing data analysis help to government departments.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India abroad: On diplomats firefighting negative references to India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- India's foreign relations with the EU and concerns raised over CAA in EU parliament.

 

Context

The European Union Parliament’s discussion recently on India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, is a cause of concern.

Reactions in the West over the act

  • In the U.K. and the U.S.:  Parliamentarians in the U.K. and U.S. Congressmen, including Democratic presidential contenders, have asked India to “reconsider” the law and to “engage” with the protesters.
  • Resolution in the EU parliament: The EU parliamentarians went a step further.
    • Six critical resolutions: The EU parliament put out six different and extremely critical resolutions.
    • One of the six articles spoke of the possible risk by the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens, of creating “the largest statelessness crisis in the world”.
    • A sixth less critical resolution, but which worried about the “brutal crackdown” on protesters, was dropped.
  • Diplomatic outreach by India
    • After India’s intense diplomatic outreach, the parliamentarians agreed to put off voting on the resolution until after External Affairs Minister and the PM visit Brussels.
    • The hope is that with the U.K. scheduled to leave the EU on January 31, interest in the anti-CAA resolutions will wane.
    • Finally, the government has held that the CAA is India’s internal law.

India’s Reaction

  • The sovereign right of India: While the government is right about India’s sovereign right, it would be deluding itself if it thinks any of these explanations are passing muster with the EU parliamentarians.
    • Dilution of case against foreign interference: The government diluted its own case against foreign interference when it facilitated a visit by EU MEPs to Srinagar last year.
    • By engaging the EU MEPs to avoid a vote in the EU Parliament this week, and offering to explain the reasons behind CAA, the government is diluting it further.
  • Need to stop reference to Pakistan: New Delhi must also consider the impact of its repeated reference to Pakistan as the sole mover of any motion against it at world legislatures and fora.
    •  626 MEPs of the total 751 were members of the groups that originally drafted the six resolutions, and it seems unlikely that Islamabad could have achieved such a majority.

Diplomatic toll

  • Cumulative toll: The government must reflect on the cumulative toll on its diplomatic heft following international alarm over the CAA, plans for an NRC and the dilution of Article 370.
  • Instead of pushing a positive agenda for India or handling global challenges, Indian diplomats seem to be overwhelmed keeping out any negative references to India at official fora.

Conclusion

India must take steps to address the concerns raised at the global level over the act and also prepare itself for the possible impact of such actions.

 

 

 

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] It’s not yet Howdy, Modi!

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- India-US ties, what are the issues that introduces friction in the ties between the two.

Context

Persistent in their efforts to remake their countries and their engagement with the world, Mr Modi and Mr Trump are shaking up the bilateral ties between the two countries, and the resultant flux could outlive their tenures.

The emergence of both the leaders on similar promises

  • Improvements over the legacy of their predecessors: Both leaders continuously reiterate that their predecessors were incapable of protecting national interest.
    • The compulsion to reframe the national interest: Such premises commits them both to reframe the national interest, and both have articulated it with clarity and force.
    • For instance, Mr Modi, in Houston in September 2019 and Mr Trump in Davos this week, went great lengths to lay out figures that presented their respective regimes as the most effective guardians.
  • Both have cultural and economic agenda: Both dispensations believe that “the people” had been given a raw deal by earlier regimes.
    • Both have a cultural and economic agenda.
    • National awakening: They are now leading a national reawakening, and working hard for the hard-working people.
    • Both believe that cultural nationalism is a force for the good.
    • Securing borders and entry barriers: Both believe that national borders need to be strengthened by stricter monitoring and setting new bars for entry.
    • Renegotiating the treaties: Both leaders try to renegotiate the contract between the union and the States, and between citizens and the state within their respective countries.
    • The supremacy of executive: They assert the supremacy of the executive over the legislature and the judiciary.
    • Shared values: The notion of shared values of India and the U.S. has acquired a whole new meaning under Mr Trump and Mr Modi.

Politics and governance

  • Hopes of status-quo in bilateral relations shattered: It was hoped that the stronger U.S.-India ties- that have autonomous drivers of convergence-would not be impacted by the nationalist politics of these two leaders.
    • But both leaders have been remarkably true to their politics in their governance.
    • Current tumult in the India-US ties: Shared values notwithstanding, national interests as perceived by these leaders have several points of divergence and therein lies in the current tumult in India-U.S. ties.
    • Opposition to the “world order”: Mr Trump has been outspokenly confrontational with the “world order” that he says has worked against American interests.
    • Dismantling the treaties: America under Mr Trump has wrecked treaties such as the Paris climate agreement and institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, disrupting the “rule-based order”.
    • India’s relations with Bangladesh: India’s spirited outreach in the neighbourhood is still playing out. India’s historically warm ties with Bangladesh have been frayed after CAA.
  • India’s ambitions on the global level
  • The seat at the UNSC: India under continues to push for more space for itself in global affairs by seeking a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and membership.
  • NSG membership: India is also pushing for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • The US actions at global levels
    • Expansion of the principle of the pre-emptive strike: America expanded the principle of pre-emptive strike to include the assassination of a senior official of Iran.
    • Renegotiating the treaties: After dismantling the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mr Trump forced Mexico and Canada to accede to his demands in a new trade deal.
  • The India-US relations and impact of U.S. relations with other countries
    • Impact on India-US ties: India’s ties with the U.S. are impacted by America’s ties with India’s adversaries and neighbours, China and Pakistan.
    • Hopes of alignment in the Indo-US ties: Mr Trump’s bluster against both had lit hope that there would finally be a near-complete alignment between India and the U.S. on strategy.
    • US-Iran conflict: Despite Mr Trump’s avowed opposition to America’s endless wars in West Asia, the US is going against Iran headlong, which is not in India’s interest.
    • Relations with Gulf Countries: Trump and Mr Modi share a strong bonding with the Gulf Cooperation Council kings, but their courses in the region are diverging.
    • US-Pakistan coming closer once again: The American President’s impatience to get out of Afghanistan has already pushed his administration closer to Pakistan, which is now further necessitated by his adventurist Iran policy.
    • The US disregard for China’s expansionist policies: Mr Trump has been singularly focused on one question-trade. He cares little about China’s expansionism and at any rate that is not a factor in his ties with other Asian countries.

India-US ties- Points of fission

  • On the trade front: Mr Trump has bracketed India and China as two countries that have duped his predecessors to gain undue advantage. Which is far from seeing India as deserving special concessions to counterbalance China as old wisdom demanded.
    • Ending GSP: The US ended India’s status under the World Trade Organization’s Generalized System of Preferences and took other punitive measures.
    • India trying to decrease the trade surplus: By increasing hydrocarbon imports from the U.S., the government is trying to reduce India’s trade surplus.
  • Restrictions on H1-B visa: The US has tightened the restrictions on the H1-B visa which is used by the Indian companies.
  • Decreasing bipartisan support in the US: The mobilisation of Indian diaspora in America by the government has resulted in the inevitable blowback.
    • Diaspora divided and bipartisan support waning: The diaspora has been divided, and the bipartisan support for India is now squandered. Progressive sections on the Democratic side and religious libertarians and evangelicals on the Trump side are both concerned over India’s actions back home.

Conclusion

Partnership with America is critical to India. India must take the steps to align the interest but whenever it diverges India must take measures to minimise its impact on India while furthering its interests.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Acting in concert

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- India-EU relations and scope and areas of cooperation.

Context

The EU-India Strategic Partnership has come a long way in recent years. The relationship is based on long-standing shared values and interests. There are numerous opportunities to unleash the full potential of EU-India cooperation.

India-EU Cooperation on Climate Change

  • The EU has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
  • But EU member states together only account for 9 per cent of global emissions.
  • Need to engage with the rest of the world:  EU-India cannot solve this problem unless they engage with the rest of the world to address it.
    • India’s commitment, as one of the biggest democracies in the world, is a key part of the solution.
    • The mixed outcome of the COP25 Climate Conference shows how much more remains to be done.
    • Clean Energy and Climate Partnership (CECP): In 2016 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and European leaders agreed on an EU-India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership (CECP).
    • EU and International Solar Alliance: In 2018, the EU joined efforts with the International Solar Alliance, headquartered in India.

Cooperation in trade

  • Both are the members of WTO: India and EU both agree on the vital role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the need to overcome the crisis of the dispute settlement system.
    • Ministerial dialogue: The launch of a regular ministerial dialogue on economic, trade and investment issues could give additional impetus to the relations.

Cooperation on security

  • Indian Navy vessels are now escorting World Food Programme ships in the framework of the EU Atlanta operation against piracy off the coast of Somalia.
  • Cooperation on anti-terrorism: Counter-terrorism experts from Europe and India exchange experiences and best practices.
    • As a result, an enhanced working relationship between our police officers is taking shape.

Digital economy and cyber

  • Need to deepen cooperation: EU and India should deepen cooperation to protect fundamental freedoms in cyberspace and the free flow of data – and counter the drift towards high-tech “de-coupling”.
  • India-EU does not want a split in cyberspace, forcing both to “choose sides” between competing systems and standards.
  • India and EU both believe in fair competition, based on global standards, for 5G, AI, big data and the internet of things.

Conclusion

There is much that the EU and India have accomplished in recent years. But there is even more to be done to further strengthen our dynamic dialogue and cooperation in all areas of mutual interest and as players on the world stage.

 

 

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[oped of the day] Raja Mandala: Looking beyond the diaspora

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : India - UK : Role of Diaspora

Context

Indian diaspora rallied behind the Tories, as the Labour Party is hostile towards India on the question of Kashmir. Delhi welcomes the return of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain.

India – Britain

  • There is much distance to cover before problems with London on Kashmir and Pakistan are overcome.
  • On Kashmir – the Labour Party had approved a resolution criticising India’s decision to change the constitutional position of Kashmir. It expressed support for the Kashmiri “right to self-determination” and calling for “international intervention” and “mediation” between Delhi and Islamabad. 

Indian diaspora

  • Nearly 130 Indian community organisations in Britain sent strong messages of protests to the Labour Party.
  • Labour’s Kashmir policy helped unite the Indian community in Britain. 
  • Number – At nearly 1.4 million, the Indian diaspora in Britain is one of the largest and its contributions to civic life — economic, political and social. It has steadily grown over the decades.
  • Problems with British – the problem of British involvement in Kashmir and other India-Pakistan issues are unlikely to disappear.

Competition with Pakistan

  • India is being sucked into an unfortunate competition with Pakistan in diaspora mobilisation in the United Kingdom and beyond.
  • The recent developments in the US show that Pakistan has stepped up the effort to direct its diaspora against India’s Kashmir policy. 
  • Pakistan has strong reasons to extend and deepen its sphere of contestation with India into the domestic politics of the Anglo-Saxon world. Here, the South Asian diaspora is in large numbers.
  • India should avoid the danger of turning this competition with Pakistan as the central preoccupation in dealing with the West and its domestic opinion.

Indian diaspora

  • Though Indian diaspora outnumbers the Pakistani diaspora, it is hard to cope with the larger alliances that are questioning India’s current domestic policies. 
  • The new coalitions bind the Pakistani diaspora with the communities of Muslim organisations and human rights groups. 
  • India needs to reassure friendly constituencies in the West that are concerned about the nature of recent developments in India.

Kashmir question

  • In the first term of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook’s interventionist policy on Kashmir wrecked Queen Elizabeth’s visit to India in 1997 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Independence. 
  • Conservative prime ministers before Johnson sought to move Britain decisively away from Labour’s tilt towards Pakistan on Kashmir.
  • It has been a lot harder to change the attitudes of the British establishment or the “deep state”.

Way ahead

  • India’s most recent political spat with London was under the Conservative government of Boris Johnson. 
  • It was over the British role in the United Nations Security Council discussions that after Delhi’s decision to alter the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Delhi must manage the tactical shifts in the British establishment’s attitude to Kashmir and other bilateral issues between Delhi and Islamabad.
  • It must also recognise that Britain has its own interests in Pakistan and faces pressures to respond to them.

Role of diaspora

  • Mobilising the diaspora can only be a small part of India’s strategy in getting Britain to change its approach towards its issues with Pakistan. 
  • India’s economy is nearly 10 times larger than that of Pakistan. There is a much larger swathe of shared interests between Delhi and London. There are other ways of persuading the British establishment to rethink its stance on India.

Conclusion

  • Delhi must now focus on the new possibilities with Britain presented by Boris Johnson’s victory.
  • India has to take full advantage of the historic shift in Britain’s international orientation — economic and political.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[oped of the day] Strengthening the Asia-Europe partnership

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ASEM

Mains level : ASEM - India

Context

ASEM, or the “Asia-Europe Meeting” is a highly relevant event for our continents.

ASEM

  • It brings together 53 partners made up of the 28 EU member states, Norway, Switzerland and the EU, and on the Asia side, 21 countries and the ASEAN secretariat.
  • It represents 55% of global trade, 60% of global GDP, 60% of the global population and 75% of global tourism.
  • In recent years, ASEM has become increasingly relevant and strategic.

Engaging on global issues

  • Global issues – There is a clear willingness from ASEM countries to engage on global issues – from supporting sustainable development, to rules-based global trade, to information sharing on cross-border threats, to the prevention or peaceful resolution of conflicts. 
  • Multilateralism – it is a key platform to uphold and promote rules-based, multilateral approaches. 

Actions

  • Sustainable connectivity and combating climate change are key themes.
  • Green deal – The EU made the Green Deal and the commitment to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. 
  • Need global partnership – To safeguard our planet and to promote sustainable development, cooperation with Asia is key.
  • International issues – issues on the international agenda such as the situation on the Korean peninsula and in Rakhine State, the West Asia peace process, Iran and the wider region, and efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan are a few. 
  • Other areas of cooperation – uphold multilateralism, address security challenges, promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Sense of partnership

  • Relations with other countries – the two can work together with Africa, the Western Balkans, finding a solution to the situation in Libya, or a peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, on Iran etc.,
  • People to people relations – students from both the continents swap Europe for Asia to study at universities; business transactions take place between European and Asian companies, tourism, research on ground-breaking innovation.

Conclusion

  • There is a need to create the environment and the conditions to enhance the connections between our societies and our citizens. 
  • It’s time to translate Europe and Asia’s power into a real partnership.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Alliance for Multilateralism

Mains level : Importance of Eurasia for India

CONTEXT

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. 

 


Back2Basics

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. 

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Talking trade with the EU

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : India-EU FTA

CONTEXT

As the economy begins to suffer from the U.S.-China trade war, it is imperative for India to pursue a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU). 

Why EU

  1. Moving beyond the U.S. and China, this is the right time for India to engage the EU.
  2. It as an indispensable democratic partner to craft a favourable geo-economic order. 
  3. India risks being left behind amidst a collapsing global trade architecture, rising protectionism and a new emphasis on bilateral FTAs
  4. India is the only major power lacking an FTA with any of its top trade partners, including the EU, the U.S., China, and Gulf economies. This is a problem as most trade is now driven either by FTAs or global value chains.
  5. EU’s revived focus on FTAs could exacerbate this risk for India. EU concluded a trade deal with Vietnam and an FTA with the Mercorsur countries in South America. India is hanging on to its Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.
  6. India’s status under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) will face rising competition from Pakistan or Sri Lanka, who enjoy GSP+ benefits.
  7. India will struggle to keep exports competitive for Europe, which is its largest trade partner and where 20% of its exports land up.
  8. Concerns about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are not resolved yet.
  9. The collapse of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and concerns about excessive economic reliance on China have propelled the EU to become a little more pragmatic.
  10. EU India a unique regulatory model that balances growth, privacy, and standards. 

Progress in talks

  1. From agriculture to intellectual property, the EU and India have been exchanging and aligning views on many issues. 
  2. New areas like e-commerce have seen convergence because India’s position on data privacy is not that different from the EU’s. 
  3. India can delay discussions about the free flow of data and freeze differences on the tax moratorium issue or data localisation while committing to liberalise in other areas.

Way ahead

  1. Beyond mere economic cost-benefit analysis, India must approach EU FTA from a geostrategic perspective.
  2. EU negotiators are now more willing to make concessions on labour or environmental regulations.
  3.  India’s governance framework shares the European norms of democratic transparency and multi-stakeholder participation in a variety of new technological domains.

CONCLUSION

When New Delhi speaks of Europe as a strategic partner to uphold a multipolar order, it must go beyond security and begin with the business of trade and technology.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India gets first TIR shipment via Chabahar Port from Afghanistan

Note4students

Mains Paper 2:IR| Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  TIR Convention

Mains level: Significance of trade through Chabahar Port


News

  • The first shipment under the United Nations ‘Transports Internationaux Routiers’ (TIR) convention arrived in India from Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar Port.

Transports Internationaux Routiers

  • India had joined the TIR Convention (the United Nations Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets) on June 15, 2017.
  • The convention is adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
  • The convention allows goods to be outlined in a TIR carnet and sealed in load compartments.
  • Customs officials verify the carnet and check the seals, with no need for physical checking of the contents, enabling shipments to pass through countries without being opened at borders.
  • Reciprocal recognition of customs controls is at the heart of the Convention.
  • This enables a facilitative and non-intrusive environment for multi-modal transport of goods through several countries.

Benefits of TIR

  • The TIR convention will help in fast and easy movement of goods across multiple countries under a common customs document and guarantee.
  • It will help boost India’s exports and enable greater participation in the global value chains.
  • TIR will play a pivotal role in improving ease of doing business and pave the way for smoother and safer transport of goods across international borders.
  • It will help boost trade between India, Central Asia, Europe and Russia.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Explained: Golden Visas

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR| Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Golden Visa

Mains level:  Prevent fugitive economic frauds


News

Context

  • Ever since a fugitive billionaire jeweller bought citizenship in Antigua, in November 2017, interest among wealthy Indians in schemes that offer citizenship or residence rights in return for investment has soared.
  • The UK government has put on hold plans to suspend “golden visa” category in reference to its use by super-rich foreign nationals, including Indians, to acquire fast-track settlement rights in Britain.

Golden Visa scheme

  1. A golden visa is a permanent residency visa issued to individuals who invest, often through the purchase of property, a certain sum of money into the issuing country.
  2. In UK, a 2-million-pound investment could bring a visa and indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after five years.
  3. An investment of 5 million pound cut down the eligibility period for ILR to three years.
  4. 10 million pound meant the investor could be eligible for permanent settlement within two years along with his or her dependents.

More Indian Inquiries

  1. Some UK-based firms that arrange foreign citizenship claim they have seen enquiries from Indians more than double since then.
  2. Henley & Partners, headquartered in Jersey, not only advises but also sets up citizenship and residence-by-investment programmes.
  3. It saw global enquiries rise by 320%, and a ‘significant increase’ from India in the past year.
  4. Knightsbridge Capital Partners, a London-based company which sells second citizenship to high-net-worth individuals, claims a “70-80% year-on-year increase in enquiries from Indians.”

Indians queuing up to settle abroad

  1. As India does not allow dual citizenship, many Indians opt for residence-by-investment schemes.
  2. The push factors are lifestyle, education, transport, clean air and healthcare.
  3. They want to send their kids to school in another country, or have somewhere safe to park their money — they want political stability.
  4. They employ all kinds of methods and strategies to protect their wealth.
  5. It’s about moving to a jurisdiction that offers benefits and flexibility, where there is stable law and order, and a good financial system.

Major reasons

  1. A second passport or residence is also a hedge against the risk of politically-motivated tax prosecution.
  2. Sometimes potential violations of tax laws are used as a tool to go after certain people, and it is very politically motivated, and less than transparent, so they feel vulnerable.
  3. These tend to be forward-thinking individuals who are hedging against unforeseen risks and are mindful of their friends being investigated.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] United colours of the ‘yellow vests’

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Gilets jaunes movement

Mains level: Causes of gilets jaunes movement in France and how a similar situation could occur in India


Context

Protests in Paris

  1. On November 17, about 3 lakh people from small towns and rural France descended on Paris, led by drivers wearing vests, to protest the rise in fuel prices caused by a new tax
  2. These are being called gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests
  3. The political violence in France follows well-worn patterns that have their roots in the country’s revolutionary past
  4. This means that the mere erection of a barricade can turn a tedious protest march into a pseudo-revolutionary action with powerful political ramifications

How did the violence erupt?

  1.  It is significant that the catalyst for the protests was rising fuel prices
  2. Those most reliant on their cars are those who live farthest from urban areas and do not have access to regular public transport
  3. In addition, there has been a complete policy reversal on diesel fuel
  4. After almost half a century of subsidies, the French state has been taking away financial incentives on diesel since the early 2000s
  5. This is a heavy blow for the 61% of French people whose cars run on diesel, and for the truckers and farmers who were used to getting their fuel on the cheap
  6. While fuel prices were clearly the catalyst and continue to be at the core of the leaderless, social media-organised movement’s core, issues of declining welfare services and unemployment allowance have also come to the fore

Uniqueness of the movement

  1. Some of the techniques used in the recent protests in France mirror those used by trade unions
  2. Shutdowns and blockades have been the stock-in-trade of the French labour movement for more than 150 years
  3. After the collapse of the French empire in the 1950s and 1960s, the French police did bring their peculiarly violent methods of control and interrogation back to metropolitan France, with sometimes devastating consequences
  4. None of these clichés really gets to the heart of the so-called gilets jaunes (yellow vest) protests that have rocked France for the past three weeks
  5. This is because the protests do not fit the usual historic parallels
  6. The movement is not led by any union or political party
  7. No one can say that it is a structured ‘movement’
  8. It also seems to combine elements of the right and left — and especially elements of the far-right and far-left — that make an ideological interpretation of the protests awkward
  9. The protesters’ demands are not clearly articulated: some want tax cuts (on fuel), some want tax rises (for the rich), some want more public services, some want more generous state benefits, some want to smash up symbols of capitalism, some want a stronger President, some think the current President is too strong, and some want all of these things at once
  10. Given this extraordinary dispersion of demands, it is hard to give a fixed reading of what the gilets jaunes represent

Double-bind of the French state

  • Obsessive focus on the French state
  1. From the beginning, the gilets jaunes have targeted the French state as both villain and saviour
  2. They have organised groups to protest outside government offices all over the country, especially in smaller provincial towns
  3. This has frequently been accompanied by violence and vandalism
  4. Almost all of the protesters agree that the state is not doing enough and has neglected their needs
  5. Yet, despite their ire, the gilets jaunes also demand redress from the very same state they abhor
  6. The state is held as sole responsible and sole guarantor
  • Wide geographical dispersion
  1. The focus on Paris has been misleading
  2. Recent events are spread out across metropolitan France and even overseas
  3. In the overseas territory of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, the entire island has been brought to a standstill by targeted traffic blockades
  4. This geographical reach reflects another long-standing structural pathology of the French economy, namely the sharp division between centre and periphery
  5. While urban areas in France have tended to develop better infrastructure and more integrated community structures, the withdrawal of state aid has had the opposite effect in peri-urban and rural areas, and in the highly unequal overseas territories

Way forward

  1. The most likely scenario is that the protests will peter out due to fatigue, demobilisation and a lack of leadership
  2. The protests also point to a deeper cleavage within French society that is likely to resurface unless the fundamental issues around models of development, the welfare state and national identity are addressed
  3. The people of France clearly need a deeper dialogue to address their sense of alienation
  4. The most urgent task facing France’s elite is to elaborate a more inclusive political project that will begin to reduce the country’s well-documented inequalities

With inputs from the article: France vs Paris

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Together in an uncertain world

Note4students

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

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: European Union

Mains level: EU’s renewed focus on India and its effect on India’s diplomacy


Context

New India strategy of EU

  1. The European Union recently released its strategy on India after 14 years
  2. The new document is sweeping in its scope and lays out a roadmap for strengthening the EU-India partnership, which has been adrift for a while in the absence of a clearly articulated strategy
  3. The 2004 EU-India declaration on building a bilateral strategic partnership, which this roadmap replaces, has not had much of a success in reconfiguring the relationship as was expected

Focus areas of new strategy

  1. The new strategy underscores a transformative shift in Brussels vis-à-vis India
  2. It talks of key focus areas such as the need to conclude a broader Strategic Partnership Agreement, intensifying dialogue on Afghanistan and Central Asia, strengthening technical cooperation on fighting terrorism, and countering radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorist financing
  3. More significant from the perspective of the EU, which has been traditionally shy of using its hard power tools, is a recognition of the need to develop defence and security cooperation with India

Struggling to build a robust partnership

  1. Despite sharing a congruence of values and democratic ideals, India and the EU have both struggled to build a partnership that can be instrumental in shaping the geopolitics and geoeconomics of the 21st century
  2. India’s relations with individual EU nations have progressed dramatically over the last few years and the EU’s focus on India has grown
  3. This is because individual nations of the EU started becoming more pragmatic in their engagement with India, Brussels continued to be big-brotherly in its attitude on political issues and ignorant of the geostrategic imperatives of Indian foreign and security policies
  4. Even as the EU emerged as India’s largest trading partner and biggest foreign investor, the relationship remained devoid of any strategic content
  5. It has now become imperative for the two to give each other a serious look

Need for the partnership

  1. In this age when U.S. President Donald Trump is upending the global liberal order so dear to the Europeans, and China’s rise is challenging the very values which Brussels likes to showcase as the ones underpinning global stability, a substantive engagement with India is a natural corollary
  2. There is a new push in Brussels to emerge as a geopolitical actor of some significance and India is a natural partner in many respects
  3. At a time when India’s horizons are widening beyond South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, Brussels is also being forced to look beyond its periphery
  4. As the wider EU political landscape evolves after Brexit, and India seeks to manage the turbulent geopolitics in Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific, both recognise the importance of engaging each other
  5. The new India strategy document unveiled by the EU, therefore, comes at an appropriate time when both have to seriously recalibrate their partnership

Way forward for India

  1. India needs resources and expertise from the EU for its various priority areas, such as cybersecurity, urbanisation, environmental regeneration, and skill development
  2. As the EU shifts its focus to India, New Delhi should heartily reciprocate this outreach

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Why Does India Refuse to Recognise Kosovo?

Note4students

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

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Non-Aligned Movement

Mains level: India’s stance on Kosovo and similar cases in light of its domestic politics


Context

India denies recognition to Kosovo endangering future hosting prospects

  1. India denied a visa to Kosovo boxer Donjeta Sadiku to participate in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships
  2. After this, Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) President wrote to the Sports Minister and the Indian Olympic Association President, saying the visa denial “cast doubt” on India’s eligibility for hosting future international sporting events
  3. For its part, AIBA threatened that it would reconsider India as the host for 2021 AIBA Men’s Boxing Championships

History of Kosovo

  1. At one time, Kosovo had been the heart of the Serbian Empire, only to be lost to the Ottomans in 1398
  2. Centuries later, in 1912, Serbia regained control of Kosovo, and by 1946, Kosovo was absorbed into the Yugoslav federation
  3. Around the 1960s, Kosovo began to assert its autonomy, being a majority-Muslim province after centuries of Ottoman rule, in a majority-Christian federation
  4. The Yugoslav federation accepted this autonomy in the 1980s, giving Kosovo a ‘de facto self-government’
  5. But from 1998-99, Kosovo was the site of a bitter and deadly war that killed thousands, largely fought between ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians
  6. In a conflict that spiralled into killings and revenge killings, NATO finally intervened against Yugoslavia, and the Kumanovo Agreement was reached in 1999 to end the war
  7. In 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, in a move that was summarily rejected by the Serbian government

Adhering to its principles

  1. For India, this is about more than just Kosovo, a tiny European nation
  2. This is about a long- and tightly-held principle that India holds dear – that of sovereignty and respecting the territorial integrity
  3. India does not recognise Kosovo as an independent nation, despite it having declared itself independent from Serbia in 2008
  4. As one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement in the aftermath of World War II, India’s foreign policy follows these principles: Non-interference in other nation’s internal affairs and an expectation of non-interference in its own; mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty; mutual non-aggression; and peaceful coexistence

Such moves can backfire for India

  1. Kosovo can set a very dangerous precedent for similar cases around the world
  2. With a conflict-ridden Kashmir to the north, where cries of ‘azaadi’ are routinely heard, and a recurring Khalistani struggle, India is reluctant to lend weight to the notion that territories within a sovereign nation can secede at will
  3. Such an action would, India fears, open it up to legitimate charges of hypocrisy – ‘If you will accept the right of self-determination of xyz country, why not of your own Kashmiris/Khalistanis?’

The Russia factor

  1. Another reason for not recognising Kosovo is India’s friendship with Russia
  2. India and Russia have long maintained a close relationship, through the Cold War to the present day
  3. For Russia, Serbia is the touchstone of its ambitions of a revived empire. For reasons similar to India’s, and because Serbia is essential to Russian interests in its region, Russia too has refused to recognise Kosovo’s independence
  4. For India, it doesn’t make sense to rub a trusted ally the wrong way in order to recognise the secession of a much smaller and less important player

What could have India done to avoid controversy?

  1. India does not yet have a good enough reason to sideline its long-standing foreign policy principles on which it bases its interactions with other countries
  2. India didn’t need to sacrifice hosting all future international competitions
  3. We should (like China) have just given the boxer a visa on a piece of paper stapled to her passport

Original Article: Why Does India Refuse to Recognise Kosovo?

Way forward taken from Mr Shashi Tharoor’s (M.P.) Tweet regarding this issue

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] The importance of Asia-Europe cooperation

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: ASEM, ASEAN, G20, BRICS

Mains level: Relevance of ASEM in recent geopolitical situation


Context

ASEM 12th conference

  1. Recently, the two-day biennial 12th ASEM was held in Brussels
  2. Titled ‘Global Partners for Global Challenge’, it deliberated on how Asia and Europe could work together to safeguard and preserve multilateralism and issues relating to global commons through multilateral dialogues

About ASEM

  1. The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is the highest platform for Asia-Europe dialogue
  2. Established in 1996, ASEM functions as an informal inter-governmental dialogue platform
  3. Through five rounds of expansion, it has registered a two-fold increase in membership, from 26 in 1996 to 53 in 2018
  4. ASEM’s potential lies in the fact that it encompasses 60% of the world population, more than half of global trade, and around two-thirds of global gross domestic product
  5. It consists of four United Nations Security Council members, all BRICS members except South Africa, and 12 of the G20 member states
  6. It also includes two regional organizations, the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretariat and the European Commission

India’s dialogue mechanism with Europe

  1. India’s cooperation with post-war Europe goes back to the 1950s when the European Union’s (EU’s) precursor, the European Economic Community, was established
  2. India has had its own summit mechanism with the EU from 2000, which was further consolidated with the 2004 India-EU strategic partnership agreement

Relevance of ASEM

  1. Ongoing shifts in global power and geo-economics, and convulsions in the liberal international order, make ASEM increasingly relevant
  2. Both Asia and Europe are wary of the uncertainties being created by the US
  3. Rising protectionist trade policies, withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation, and Trump’s disregard for multilateral dialogue pose significant common challenges
  4. Post-Brexit EU is likely to be more focused on Asia and recent trends indicate that it is keen to be more integrated with Asian growth
  5. The EU has recently released a policy document on fostering physical, economic, digital, and people-to-people connectivity between Asia and Europe
  6. Major European countries such as France and Germany are getting more involved in Asian security dynamics too

Opportunity for India

  1. Relations with both China and the US have been a tightrope walk for India
  2. China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) and Trump’s tariff barriers and H-1B visa issue are prime areas of concern for India
  3. ASEM countries should find common ground on trade liberalization and reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers
  4. Even on critical strategic issues with economic ramifications such as Iran, India, China, and the EU are largely on the same page
  5. The EU strategy is a good omen for Asian countries which have been looking for a rule-based and transparent multilateral cooperation mechanism that can yield quality investments for greater intra-regional, regional, and inter-regional connectivity

Way forward

  1. ASEM could play a key role in bringing Asian and European countries closer on a range of issues
  2. This is significant at a time when the US is disrupting the gains of globalization

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[pib] 12th ASEM Summit

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: ASEM

Mains level: Importance of such international engagements


News

12th ASEM Summit, Brussels

  1. The Vice President of India has left for Belgium to attend the two-day 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels.
  2. The bi-annual event is considered the highest platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe in the areas of trade, investment, security and tourism.
  3. The theme of the ASEM Summit is ‘Global Partners for Global Challenges’.

Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

  1. The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe.
  2. The initial ASEM partnership in 1996 consisted of 15 EU member states and 7 ASEAN member states plus China, Japan, Korea and the European Commission.
  3. Presently it comprises 53 partners: 30 European and 21 Asian countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat.
  4. ASEM addresses political, economic, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
  5. The main components of the ASEM process rest on the following 3 pillars:
  • Political & Security Pillar
  • Economic & Financial Pillar
  • Social, Cultural & Educational Pillar

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[pib] 3rd ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Conference on ‘Global Ageing and Human Rights of Older Persons’

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: ASEM

Mains level: Importance of such international engagements


News

Context

  1. Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment left for Seoul (Korea) for the 3rd ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Conference on ‘Global Ageing and Human Rights of Older Persons’.
  2. The experience gained from the Conference will be beneficial for Policy formulation and implementation for welfare of senior citizens.

3rd ASEM Conference

  1. The 3-day Conference will reaffirm the universal value of the human rights of older persons.
  2. It aims to share information on discrimination against the elderly and exemplary cases of long-term and palliative care in Asia and Europe.
  3. It will also discuss operation and tasks of the ASEM Global Ageing Centre as an implementing institution for mutual cooperation among ASEM members for the protection and promotion of the human rights of older persons.

Back2Basics

Asia–Europe Meeting

  1. The ASEM is an Asian–European political dialogue forum to enhance relations and various forms of cooperation between its partners.
  2. It was officially established on 1 March 1996 at the first summit in Bangkok, Thailand, by the then 15 members of the European Union (EU) and the European Commission, the then 7 members of the ASEAN and the individual countries of China, Japan, and Korea.
  3. A series of enlargements saw additional EU members join as well as India, Mongolia, Pakistan and the ASEAN Secretariat in 2008, Australia, New Zealand and the Russian Federation in 2010, Bangladesh, Norway, and Switzerland in 2012 as well as Croatia and Kazakhstan in 2014.
  4. The main components of the ASEM process rest on the following 3 pillars:
  • Political & Security Pillar
  • Economic & Financial Pillar
  • Social, Cultural & Educational Pillar

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India rejects U.K. proposal on DNA tests for ‘illegal migrants

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: Issue of illegal Indian immigrants in the UK


Govt. refuses to sign the pact citing ‘privacy issues’

  1. India rejected a proposal by the U.K. to use DNA sampling to establish the nationality of illegal migrants living there citing privacy issues
  2. Although a MoU on return of illegal migrants was initiated after due approval of the Union Cabinet
  3. As per the original MoU, security agencies in India were to verify the antecedents of illegal migrants without documents in the U.K. within 72 days and those with documents within 15 days
  4. If no report was given within the stipulated time frame, the illegal migrant would be deported automatically

DNA Sampling is unethical

  1. The U.K. authorities have earlier suggested that the nationality of document-less illegal migrants suspected to be Indians could be established by matching DNA samples of their family members living here
  2. India raised objections as this was a breach of privacy and unethical
  3. According to the British government’s estimates, there are around 1,00,000 Indians overstaying their visa in the U.K
  4. India has contested this and said that as per their estimate, the number will not be more than 2,000

Twists and turns

  1. In January, Union Cabinet approved the contents of a MoU on “return of illegal migrants” to be signed with U.K.
  2. The pact was expected to be signed during the visit of PM to London, but it was not included in the official list of business
  3. As per the original MoU, the security agencies in India were to verify the antecedents of document less illegal migrants in the U.K within 72 days and those with documents within 15 days
  4. India pulled out of the pact citing the time frame was not feasible.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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”

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[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.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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


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’

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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


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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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


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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[ 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.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

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
  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

Timeline of EU

Timeline of European Union
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19 April 1951: European Coal and Steel Community Treaty signed by Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Netherlands.
May 1952: European Defence Community (EDC) Treaty.
August 1954: France rejects the EDC treaty.
25 March 1957: Treaties of Rome signed: creates Common Market / European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community.
1 January 1958: Treaties of Rome come into effect.

1960s

1961: Britain tries to join the EEC but is rejected.
January 1963: Franco-German Treaty of Friendship; they agree to work together on many policy issues.
January 1966: Luxembourg Compromise gives majority vote on some issues, but leaves national veto on key areas.
1 July 1968: Full customs union created in the EEC, ahead of schedule.
1967: British application again rejected.
December 1969: Hague summit to “relaunch” the Community, attended by heads of state.

1970s

1970: Werner Report argues economic and monetary union possible by 1980.
April 1970: Agreement for EEC to raise own funds through levies and customs duties.
October 1972: Paris Summit agrees plans for future, including economic and monetary union and ERDF fund to support depressed regions.
January 1973: UK, Ireland and Denmark join.
March 1975: First meeting of the European Council, where heads of state gather to discuss events.
1979: First direct elections to European Parliament.
March 1979: Agreement to create the European Monetary System.

1980s

1981: Greece joins.
February 1984: Draft Treaty on European Union produced.
December 1985: Single European Act agreed; takes two years to ratify.
1986: Portugal and Spain join.
1 July 1987: Single European Act comes into effect.

1990s

February 1992: Maastricht Treaty / Treaty on European Union signed.
1993: Single Market begins.
1 November 1993: Maastricht Treaty comes into effect.
1 January 1995: Austria, Finland and Sweden join.
1995: Decision taken to introduce the single currency, the Euro.
2 October 1997: Treaty of Amsterdam makes minor changes.
1 January 1999: Euro introduced in eleven counties.
1 May 1999: Treaty of Amsterdam comes into effect.

2000s

2001: Treaty of Nice signed; extends majority voting.
2002: Old currencies withdrawn, ‘Euro’ becomes sole currency in majority of EU; Convention on the Future of Europe created to draw up constitution for larger EU.
1 February 2003: Treaty of Nice comes into effect.
2004: Draft constitution signed.
1 May 2004: Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Slovenia join.
2005: Draft constitution rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands.
2007: Lisbon Treaty signed, this modified the constitution until it was deemed a sufficient compromise; Bulgaria and Romania join.
June 2008: Irish voters reject Lisbon Treaty.
October 2009: Irish voters accept Lisbon Treaty.
1 December 2009: Lisbon Treaty comes into effect.
2013: Croatia joins.
2016: United Kingdom votes to leave.

Growth of EU
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Structure of EU

European Union seven institutions
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The European Union has seven institutions: the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Council, the European Central Bank, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Auditors.

  • The European Council gives direction to the EU and convenes at least four times a year. It comprises the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state; either its head of state or head of government.
  • The European Council has been described by some as the Union’s “supreme political authority”. It is actively involved in the negotiation of the treaty changes and defines the EU’s policy agenda and strategies.
  • The European Council uses its leadership role to sort out disputes between member states and the institutions and to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies.
  • The European System of Financial Supervisors is an institutional architecture of the EU’s framework of financial supervision composed by three authorities: the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority.
  • To complement this framework, there is also a European Systemic Risk Board under the responsibility of the ECB.
  • The aim of this financial control system is to ensure the economic stability of the EU.
  • The European Parliament allows the citizens of the EU to participate directly in European political affairs. The citizens of the 28 member states appoint their deputies in the national elections for a five-year period. These deputies are to represent the interests of their electors on a European level. The latest elections (by direct universal suffrage) took place in May 2014.
  • The European Commission (EC) 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. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as “commissioners”).
  • The Court of Justice of the European Union is the Union’s only body of a legal nature. It is a sort of legislative watchdog in charge of verifing the interpretation and the application of community legislation.

 

Importance of EU:

  • The European Union is our largest trading partner, and our largest export destination. And it is our largest source of Foreign Direct Investment.
  • However, India’s exports to EU in 2014-15 had shrunk (-) 4.4 per cent year on year to $49.3 billion. Imports from EU had also contracted (-) 1.5 per cent in 2014-15 to $49.2 billion.

Deadlock in Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BITA)

The BTIA negotiations have remained deadlocked over growing differences regarding greater market access sought by both sides for merchandise exports.

EU’s main Demands

  • EU has been keen on reducing or abolishing tariffs in several sectors, including in the automobile and wine and spirits sectors.
  • India’s import duty on cars are between 60 and 120 per cent as against the EU’s 10 per cent.
  • The EU is keen that India should adopt stringent IP protection standards even if that means going beyond the WTO specified standards.
  • The problem of India’s model BIT
  • India’s new model bilateral investment treaty (BIT) is another major contentious issue, especially for foreign investment.
  • Given the experiences of major European companies such as Vodafone and Cairn, who are battling the imposition of retrospective taxes by India, the EU is deeply concerned about the protection of its investments in India.

India’s main demands

  • India’s main demands on data security status (crucial for India’s information technology sector to do more business with the EU firms), easier temporary movement of skilled professionals and seamless intracorporate movement.
  • The EU should do away with their non-tariff barriers that seem to have been erected mainly to protect some of their local firms but not as much for better safety or quality.
  • India has also sought agricultural market access in the EU as well as disciplining of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (norms related with plants and animals) and Technical Barriers to Trade.

 

Other major issues between India and EU:

  • Human rights violation: One of the ostensible reasons for stalled talks between the European Union (EU) and India had been the EU concern over human right violations in India.
  • Italian marines case has also played a spoiler in the EU-India relationship.
  • Arbitrary Ban: In August 2015, India had deferred FTA over the EU imposing a ban on sale of around 700 pharma products.

 

13TH INDIA-EU SUMMIT

The 13th EU-India Summit was held in Brussels on March 2016.

Outcome of summit:

The 13th India-EU Summit concluded in Brussels without a consensus on a bilateral free trade deal even as progress was made in bilateral cooperation in other fields — from foreign policy to outer space.

Following are the major outcomes of the summit:

EU-India Agenda for Action-2020

India and the European Union (EU) have endorsed the ‘EU-India Agenda for Action 2020’ as a common road map for the strategic partnership in the next five years.

  • Foreign Policy and Security Cooperation: Strengthen foreign policy cooperation, in areas of mutual interest such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East/West Asia, Europe, and other relevant areas.
  • Security: Strengthen cooperation and work towards tangible outcomes on shared objectives of nonproliferation & disarmament, counter-piracy, counter-terrorism (including counter -radicalization) and cyber security.
  • The two sides agreed to cooperate in countering violent extremism, disrupt recruitment of terrorists and prevent the free passage of foreign fighters.
  • They have also agreed to explore the possibility of India and EUROPOL, the EU law enforcement agency, to share intelligence.

The Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), which was also adopted, is designed to control and organize migration a pressing concern for the EU.

  •  The Agenda also includes the prevention of human trafficking and promoting international protection as priority areas.

Joint Declaration on an India-EU Water Partnership (IEWP): The objective of this Joint Declaration is to strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities of India and the EU in the field of water management on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit.

  • Joint Declaration on a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership.
  • Both sides agreed to further the negotiations on early conclusion of the BTIA.
  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement with India to release the first tranche of 200 million euros of its total 450 million euros loan towards the construction of the Lucknow Metro’s first line.

Challenges before EU:

  1. Eurozone crisis- The root of this problem is lied in the formation in EU itself. Crisis in one country affects the other countries as well, and now many countries in EU are facing economic crisis(PIGS countries) and it has affected other prosperous countries like France and Germany as well. 
  2. Refugee crisis– Situated aside Mediterranean sea, it has become a destination for many refugees who left their home from West Asia and North Africa due to troubled conditions in these regions. the influx of so many refugees has created problems related to higher economic burden in already suffering europe, law and order problem, ethnic clashes between natives and migrants etc.
  3. Problem of extremism- The rise of ISIL and the recent attacks in Paris and Belgium has exposed the vulnerabilities of youths in europe towards extremist ideologies as the attacks were happened with no outside supports.

 

European Refugee Crisis

Eu union crisis explained
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Huge number of refugees and migrants have been shifting to Europe, from many countries like Syria, particularly since 2011. They see Europian Union (EU) as their asylum. With more number of refugees coming in at a time when the natives don’t want any more, the whole situation has developed into a crisis. This crisis is called European Refugee Crisis.

The refugees are not only from Syria!

More than 5 Lakh people have crossed to Europe by sea and land. Most of them are from Syria – troubled not only by civil war, but also by the most violent and inhumane atrocities by ISIS. But Syria is not the single source. They come from areas such as the Middle East (Syria, Iraq), Africa (Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Gambia), South Asia and Central Asia. According to International Organisation for Migration (IOM) statistics, a substantial number of refugees are also from Afghanistan and Pakistan too due to unending civil conflicts in these countries.

The phrase “European migrant crisis” became widely used in April 2015, when five boats carrying almost two thousand migrants to Europe sank in the Mediterranean Sea, with a combined death toll estimated at more than 1,200 people.

Migrants and Refugees – Statistics

  • According to UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, 59.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2014 which again rose considerably in 2015.
  • A record number of 1,07,500 migrants reached the borders of European Union in recent months.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, around 30, 000 have perished along these borders.

This figures stand as a witness that this crisis didn’t started only after ISIS emerged. The increasing number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Europe is seen as a dangerous growing trend among refugees. In 2014 alone around 24,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum. Many of the children who arrive are at the age group of 15 to 17 with no formal schooling adding more headaches to host countries.

The European Response to Migrant Crisis

Germany and the EU have been pushing for other EU members to work out a plan for asylum seekers. Britain leads among countries which strictly rejects it. The Right-Wing PM of Hungary has appealed to refugees not to try and cross into Hungary which has fenced its borders with razor wire. Bulgaria, Czech, Slovakia and Poland all are reluctant in taking of refugees making the situation grave.

Germany is expected to give green signal to almost 1 million applicants for asylum. After extensive criticisms by Media on Refugee crisis, EU has started to take few favourable steps.  

Initially Europe greeted immigrants with barbed wires, tear gas and police brutality. Only after huge outcry across International media and from human rights and progressive organisations within Europe, eased the curbs on refugees.

Aylan: Another incident which helped to garner pro- refugee sentiments was photo of dead child Aylan on a beach. A mishap happened from his father who accidently dropped him from an overcrowded boat while trying to escape. These photos send jitters across world and thanks to social media which made sure that this photo was seen by everyone who has an account.

Also Pope Francis statement that every Church in Europe should take a refugee family has given hope to many that it may change the mood in European Right Wing’s mind.

Countries have started to take more refugees peacefully now. European people have been welcoming refugees with water, food, shoes and blankets. Though Italy, Greece and Hungary are the frontline countries of reception, most sort after destinations are Germany, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland.

Why Europe?

Europe is the most preferred destination for the people from this war conflicted regions as its economically prosperous, socially secure and has friendly immigration laws.

Mostly it’s not because refugees are opportunists that they walk to EU but it’s due to dangerous situation they and their families has to live. Endless wars, conflicts have ruined their countries political, economic and social equilibrium.

Also it’s surprising why GCC countries never have been helpful or receptive to refugee crisis especially when it’s happening in their backyard. Rich countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar has to play more pro- active roles in this situation. So obviously Europe as nearest land seems to be their immediate hope to go as they can trek or use boats or ships to reach.

Macro level causes for Refugee Crisis

  • West: A short and quick look into history will show you that countries who are responsible for this situation are the ones who have to bear pain of this crisis i.e Europe or to put in a cliché ‘West’ inclusive of US. Middle East can be said as the holy grail of West since oil was accidentally found by two American gentlemen in Saudi Arabia. No doubt it was a boon to natives and even to millions of Asian and African immigrants to Middle East but also it paved the way to unending geo-political crisis across the region. Before finding oil just like Asia and Africa European colonialism had sucked all its wealth and when time came to leave the place like everywhere, Imperial powers left without solving issues created by them mainly land disputes within neighbours. Example is Israel and Palestine issue.
  • Dictatorship regimes and Islamic fundamentalism: Continuous dictatorship type regimes and Islamic fundamentalism made Middle East most volatile n disturbed place on the planet. Western powers in order to make their oil supply smooth and to be part of Gulf Boom started in early 80’s always took a partial stand on these issues.
  • Shia-Sunni divide: Another villain to already worsened situation was Shia-Sunni divide among people, society and regimes which led to many conflicts.  This reason has led many natives to flee as refugees in the past from Palestine, during Iraq-Iran war, Iraq-Kuwait war etc.
  • Wars: This refuge crisis has given Europe a reality check on its wars on many regions of MENA (Middle East and North African region). Wars on these lands didn’t ease the situation even though they were able to kill or defeat dictator leaders. By war, infrastructure and liveable conditions of already abysmal level got more deteriorated.  These resulted natives of these lands to search green pastures which happened to be Europe and hence started Refugee crisis.
  • Democracy movements and civil war: Present refugees crisis didn’t started yesterday but it has been seen a huge surge from Libya conflict. If we go again back refugee problem as a crisis started from US, UK joint war to liberate Iraq.
  • ISIS: Emergence of ISIS just sky rocketed the whole thing. Western powers in a way failed to bring stable regimes to these lands.  People in a way got sandwiched between atrocities of ISIS or ineffective regimes backed by West on one side and on the other side hunger, poverty and tyranny. Only way to survive for them was to initiate long walk towards Europe! Thus started one of the biggest Exoduses ever seen in history.

Adding fuel to fire

  1. Saudi Arabia has been attacking and bombing Yemen.
  2. Asylum denied refugees may join ISIS.
  3. Turkey’s intolerance with Kurds

Syrian Conflict have been going on for 4 years but why suddenly this crisis?

  • War in Syria against ISIS is not getting any better. It made Syrians to leave their country to Turkey which is closest and they thought once war is over, they can return.
  • Even though Turkey has taken 2 million refugees, it’s not a country for people to stay in the long run as Right to work for refugees are not legal yet. Also new regime of Turkey is also not quite favourable to refuges as previous government. It has made refugees reluctant to go to Turkey.
  • UN organisations working with millions of refuges in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon are running short of funds to keep up the relief work and expenses of camp making people to think of going to Europe. Similar is the situation among UN camps catering to the needs of refugees in Eastern Europe.
  • Many people have saved required money to use legally or illegally to get into Germany.
  • People have familiarised with the route via Balkan to trek to EU.
  • EU countries have been sitting as a lame duck all this year’s talking, discussing on refugee crisis without sensing urgent need of a solution or to deal with such a situation.
  • Still EU should understand that what they are facing now is just a tip of iceberg compared to neighbouring countries of Syria when it comes to dealing with refugees.

Conclusions with Possible Solutions

West in a way with its narrow minded Foreign Policy have destabilized West Asia and Middle East and now cannot show their back on refugee crisis.

  • Europe should include US which has been largely elusive on whole issue till now.
  • GCC countries should involve more in accepting refugees. It’s a blunder what Saudi Arabia is doing right now by attacking and bombing Yemen currently which will only add more refugees.
  • If Europe is going to push back the refugees, the situation will be more vicious. Such a stupidity will increase the chances of refugees joining with ISIS as they won’t have any other options to survive.
  • Turkey should end its anonymity with Kurds and involve them more into finding a solution and to defeat ISIS. 
  • Assad regime should be made more accountable.
  • Include Russia and organise an all-out war against ISIS.

Finding a formula based solution which will end all tyranny is not practical but it’s time that Europe and US sit together and re-check their neo imperialistic and double faced foreign policies in West Asia and Middle East.

Also Western powers should stop Saudi Arabia from funding Wahhabis ideology being spread in Middle East society which is resulting in more Islamic fundamentalism helping organisations like ISIS and Boko—Haram.

To all those who oppose to support refuges,“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.”   – Carlos Fuentes.

INDIA-GERMANY

Introduction  

Bilateral relations between Germany and India are based on a sound foundation of mutual respect, understanding and support. The cooperation between both countries covers a wide range of areas from political action and growing economic exchange to landmark cultural events.

It is complementary as India and Germany both contribute their particular and unique strengths to this truly strategic partnership.  

The relationship, based on common values of democracy and rule of law has gained significantly in strength in the 1990s following India’s economic liberalization and the end of cold War. The strategic partnership between India and Germany gained light with the signing of Germany and India cooperate closely on the issue of UNSC expansion within the framework of G-4.

Historical Background  

  • The history of Indo-German political relations goes back to the late nineteenth century, when the ‘Imperial German Consulate’ (Kaiserlich Deutsches Generalkonsulat) started operating from Calcutta (now Kolkata).  
  • As one of the first countries, India diplomatically acknowledged and accepted the Federal Republic of Germany after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The diplomatic recognition of Germany by the Indian government smoothened the way for a long lasting and continuous relationship for over 60 years up to the present day.  
  • Thus, in 1951, the Indian Union and Germany decided to establish economic relationships to gear up their partnership. With that in mind, the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made his first visit to post-war Germany and its first Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (Christian Democratic Union – CDU) in the same year.  
  • Also, Germany established its Consulate General in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1951, leading of the establishment of a full-fledged Embassy in New Delhi in 1952

Importance of Germany for India

India and Germany share strong bilateral relations extending over economic, cultural and security issuesECONOMIC IMPORTANCE 

  • Germany is the largest trade-partner of India in Europe.
  • Germany’s importance can be traced from the fact that India has announced a Fast-Track mechanism for German Companies in the DIPP.
  • Germany’s looks forward to employ young Indian labour to overcome its demographic deficit.

STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE 

  • India and Germany seek a permanent seat with veto powers at the United Nations Security Council and have joined with Japan and Brazil to co-ordinate their efforts via the G4 collective.

SECURITY IMPORTANCE 

  • Technologically advanced Germany can contribute a lot to India to strengthen its security programs. Currently, both nations are holding meetings on Counter-Terrorism and Cyber-Dialogues.
  • Germany supports India’s membership to NSG and MTCR(Missile Technology and Control Group.

ROLE OF GERMANY IN INDIA’s RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR 

  • Germany has invested heavily in the Green Energy Corridors Partnership and has extended co-operated in the India-Germany Solar Energy Partnership which can help India achieve its target of 175 GW by 2022. 
  • Germany has also extended its help to India’s National Electric Mobility Mission which can reduce the dependence on the fossils.

German Economy  

Germany – the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe’s largest – is a leading exporter of  machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force  German Economy contracted by 5.1% in 2009 but grew by 3.6% in 2010, and 3.1% in 2011.

The recovery was attributable primarily to rebounding manufacturing orders and exports – increasingly outside the Euro Zone. The worsening euro-zone financial crisis and the financial burden it places on Germany as well as falling demand for German exports has made domestic demand a more significant driver of Germany’s economic expansion.  

Economic Relations  

  • Germany is India’s most important trading partner within the European Union and the sixth most important trading partner in worldwide comparison. Since the beginning of the Indian reform policy in 1990, the bilateral trade volume has risen from 2.7 billion Euro to 16 billion Euro in 2014.  
  • Germany is the 8th largest foreign direct investor in India since 2000. German FDI in India during the period 1991-February 2015, was valued at US$ 8.25 billion. German FDI in India in 2014 was to the tune of US$ 1.15 Indian investments in Germany have also shown a remarkable increase in the last few years and have invested over US $ 6 billion in Germany, mainly through M&As.  
  • In the first 7 months of 2015, the bilateral trade volume compared to the previous year rose by 13%. German exports rose by 17.5%, while imports from India rose by 8,1%. The German trade surplus of around 1.9 billion Euro in 2014 is based on a high demand for German capital goods.
  • These are machinery that amount to a third of German exports to India, as well as electronic technology, metal ware, chemicals, automobiles and automotive parts. Indian exports to Germany consist mainly of textiles, chemicals, electronic technology, metal ware, leather and foods.

 

Angela Merkel Visit to India 2016

Bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Germany have been traditionally strong due to commercial, cultural and technological co-operation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to India for the Third Indo- German Inter-Governmental Consultations.

A total of 18 agreements were signed, which covered a wide range of topics — from skill development to education, science and technology to aviation.

Highlights of the visit

  • Germany returned to India a 10th century Durga idol that had gone missing from a temple in Kashmir over two decades ago.

“Fast-track clearance mechanism”:

  • In a bid to attract German investment, India decided to set up a “fast-track clearance mechanism”. The only other such country-specific mechanism is for Japan.
  • The fast-track system for German companies will be taken care of by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and will become operational by March 2016.
  • The two leaders also underlined the importance of freedom of navigation in international waters and the right of passage and other maritime rights in accordance with international law, in an apparent reference to growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.
  • Germany has expressed its inability to sign the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with India, citing its provision for “death penalty” for heinous crimes and terror activities.
  • India and Germany agreed to resume talks towards a free trade agreement between Asia’s third-largest economy and the European Union.
  • Germany is India’s largest trading partner in the E.U. and one of the top ten global trading partners.
  • The overall exchange of goods and services between the two countries was valued at around around 15.96 billion euros last year, a drop of €1.14 billion from the level of €16.10 billion registered in 2013.
  • German Chancellor highlighted problems that German businesses have faced in operating in India, and hoped that the new agreement for a special “fast-track” mechanism would help them secure licences and clearances expeditiously.

Cooperation in clean energy:

  • The two countries agreed on the India Germany Climate and Renewable Energy Alliance — a comprehensive partnership to harness technology, innovation and finance in order to make affordable, clean and renewable energy accessible to all.
  • Germany has committed to providing an assistance of over 1 billion Euros for India’s Green Energy Corridor and a new assistance package of over 1 billion Euros for solar projects in India.

Germany is India’s “natural ally”

  • India’s natural partners would be countries that, on the one hand, do not compete with it either in the Market place or in power politics, and, on the other, have something to offer India that it lacks.
  • By assisting India in the quest for development and geo-economic growth, Germany has the opportunity to bolster their own rise in geopolitical terms.
  • Germany has surplus capital, modern technology and a demographic deficit.
  • India has a deficit of capital, lacks modern technology and has exportable human capital.

UN Security Council reform

Germany and India are vigorously pursuing UN security reform along with Japan and Brazil.

INDIA AND FRANCE

  • Relations between India and France have traditionally been close and friendly. With the establishment of strategic partnership in 1998, there has been a significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation. President François Mr. Hollande was Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade.
  • The relationship is based on shared values and real convergence on a whole range of regional and global issues.
  • France was the first country with which India entered into an agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation.
  • France has consistently supported India’s increasing role in international fora, including India’s permanent membership of the UNSC.

Trade relation

  • India-France trade hovers around $8 billion, which is half of India’s trade with UK or Germany. A big reason for this is the impasse in India’s economic relations with the European Union.
  • More than a thousand French companies have a total investment of about $20 billion in India.

Strategic partnership

  • In the post-Cold War period, France was the first country with which India established a ‘strategic partnership’. The only major Western power that described the U.S. as a “hyperpuissance” (hyperpower) and openly espoused the virtues of multi-polarity found a natural ideological convergence with India’s ambitions of seeking strategic autonomy.
  • After the nuclear tests in May 1998, when India declared itself a nuclear state, France was the first major power to open talks with the country.
  • The strategic dialogue has been institutionalized at the level of National Security Advisors, and covers nuclear, defence, space and counter-terrorism, cyber security issues.
  • These have been given a boost by the agreement on intelligence-sharing and cooperation on investigations and judicial processes.

Rafale deal

  • India would buy 36 of the fighter planes in flyaway condition, citing critical operational requirements of the Indian Air Force.
  • The two countries have signed a MoU on purchase of Rafale fighter jets.

Nuclear agreement

  • The Jaitapur project, where French company Areva is to set up six nuclear reactors with a total power generation capacity of about 10,000 MW, has been stuck for long because of differences over the cost of the power generated.
  • Both countries have decided to clear the logjam by splitting the problem into different silos — allowing for separate mechanisms for the pricing issues and for the technical and legal aspects.

Solar energy

  • French President inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the International Solar Alliance at Gurgaon.
  • The French Development Agency will allocate for the development of solar energy €300 million over the next five years.
  • The International Solar Alliance, envisaged to bring together 122 countries that lie wholly or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, is an initiative announced by Mr. Modi at the COP 21 Summit in Paris in November 2015. The member countries are to be those that enjoy 300 or more days in a year of bright sunlight.

INDIA AND ITALY

Italian marine case

An international arbitration tribunal has ruled that Italian marine can return to Italy until it decides a dispute raised by Italy about India’s jurisdiction to try him and his colleague for the killing of two Indian fishermen in February 2012.

Subsequent to tribunal ruling, The Supreme Court ruled that Girone (Italian marine) can return to Italy while an international tribunal decides on a jurisdictional issue between India and Italy. The Supreme Court laid down conditions for releasing Mr. Girone.

  • He continues to remain under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and report to the local police station in Italy once every month. Also, the Italian authorities will keep the Indian embassy informed.
  • Envoy’s responsibility: The Italian Ambassador will take the responsibility of ensuring his return within a month in case the tribunal rules in favour of trial in India.

Background of the Case

Two Italian marines-Massimiliano Latorre and Mr. Girone are facing the charge of murdering two Indian

fishermen in 2012 off the Kerala coast.

Italy position

  • The Italian position is that the two marines positioned on board a merchant tanker, theEnrica Lexie, had opened fire to thwart what they perceived as a pirate attack 20.5 nautical miles off Kochi.
  • It is further argued that the death of the two Indian fishermen occurred in the course of the discharge of their operational duties, and hence functional immunity could be invoked as related to the military personnel of any nation.
  • Italy argues that the case should not be heard in India because the incident occurred in international waters.

India’s position

India has steadfastly rejected Italian argument and has invoked its sovereign right to prosecute the accused under the provisions of Indian law.

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

In June 2015 Italy approached the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg.

  • The tribunal is adjudicating only on the limited question of whether India or Italy has the jurisdiction to try the two marines.
  • In August 2015 ITLOS ordered that: “Italy and India shall both suspend all court proceedings and refrain from initiating new ones which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the Annex VII arbitral tribunal or might jeopardise or prejudice the carrying out of any decision which the arbitral tribunal may render.”
  • Subsequent to the ITLOS ruling, both parties agreed that the dispute would be resolved under the UNCLOS tribunal.

May 2, 2016: A U.N. arbitration court rules that India should release Italian marine Salvatore Girone.

  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)
  • It is an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on December 10, 1982.
  • The tribunal is based in Hamburg, Germany.
  • The Tribunal has the power to settle disputes between party states.

INDIA-UK

Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit the UK in almost a decade.

  • The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together to build such an enhanced and transformative partnership for the betterment of their two countries and the world.
  • India and the U.K. announced an enhanced defence and strategic partnership as well as a civil nuclear agreement
  • Both countries for the first time, jointly pushing for the UN comprehensive convention on international terrorism (CCIT), and strengthening strategic cooperation and intelligence-sharing through annual consultations.
  • £9.2 Billion of commercial deals between the UK and India announced during the visit and listed in the annex.
  • Both countries announced three UK-India city partnerships with Indore, Pune and Amravati to support India’s ambitious urban development goals through technical assistance, expertise sharing and business engagement.
  • Both countries have launched a new Thames/Ganga partnership for healthy river systems. This partnership will consist of a collaborative programme of research and innovation to enable the sustainable management of water resources in the Ganga basin and a policy expert exchange in 2016 supported by the UK Water Partnership.
  • Announcement of setting up of joint India-UK Vaccine Development collaboration between the Department of Biotechnology and Research Councils, UK.

Trade and investment

  • U.K. is the largest G20 investor in India, while India invests more in the U.K. than the rest of the European Union combined. India has also emerged as the third largest source of FDI for the U.K. Indian companies employ 110,000 people in the UK.
  • Foreign direct investment inflows from Britain to India between April 2000 and March 2016 were worth $23.1 billion. The UK has accounted for 8.56% of total foreign direct investment in India during the last 15 years.
  • Bilateral trade has stalled at the level of $ 15-16 billion.

Visa issue

  • India has conveyed its concerns to the UK authorities about the new British immigration law that will impact professionals earning below 35,000 pounds annually.
  • Thousands of Indians and other nationals from outside the European Union (EU) living and working in Britain on a tier-2 visa may have to leave or be deported if they earn less than €35,000 a year once the terms of the visa expire.
  • Indian professionals have formed the largest category of individuals issued such visas by the UK over the years.
  • Indian professionals are also facing visa related challenges in other countries, including the U.S. India has dragged the U.S. to the WTO over its decision to impose high fees on temporary working visas.

Issue of Pakistan

  • India believes that the UK should take a tougher line with Pakistan on terrorism. The UK argues that it needs to maintain a positive relationship with Pakistan, not least because of the size of the Pakistani diaspora.

UK PM visit to India 2016

In November 2016 Prime Minister of United Kingdom Theresa May was on three day visit to India, and it was her maiden visit to India after becoming Prime Minister of UK. India and United Kingdom enjoys the cordial relations since long time. Both countries are considered as two pillars of the Commonwealth, sharing democratic values and a world view on many political issues including terrorism. 

Key Agreements signed during the visit

  • UK’s PM Theresa May offered frequent registered traveller scheme for Indians travelling to Britain for business.  
  • The UK is also planning to restrict immigration through “work and study routes” which will have an impact on Indians being hired by British firms.
  • Both countries reaffirmed the importance of the strategic partnership between both and it delivers huge benefits for both countries. 

About the traveller Scheme  

Under the scheme, Indian nationals frequently visiting to the U.K. and contributing to growth in both countries will have a ‘significantly easier’ entry process including fewer forms to be filled, access to the EU-EEA passport controls, swifter passage through airports.

It will give a boost to trade and investment in both the∙ countries and strengthen ties between two nations.

About the Immigration Scheme

As per the proposal  

  • Immigration system will be re-looked if it provides the right incentives for businesses to invest in British workers.  
  • From December 2016, landlords renting out property to people with no right to be in the UK will be committing a criminal offence and could go to prison.  
  • Immigration checks will be a mandatory requirement for those wanting to get a licence to drive a taxi.  
  • From 2017, banks will have to do regular checks to ensure they are not providing essential banking services to illegal migrants.

Prospective impacts of the Immigration Scheme  

  • The tightened immigration will “ensure gaps in the UK’s labour market.  
  • The crackdown will affect students from India planning to study in the UK; their numbers are already at an all-time low.  
  • The move may make it difficult for British firms to hire from outside the EU, including countries like India.

 

BREXIT

Brexit is a term used to define United Kingdom coming out of EU. Recently in a referendum conducted in United Kingdom, UK voted by a narrow margin in favour of Brexit. Negotiations are undergoing currently between United Kingdom and European Parliament to negotiate the terms of the exit deal.

About EU

European Union or EU is an experiment to transform the relations between nations based on functionalist ideology. It envisages to transform the relations between nations by enmeshing them in economic, social, cultural, political partnership. EU is currently a block of 28 countries and 19 countries have formed Eurozone.

Formation of European Union is an outcome of Single European Act, 1991. 
Mashtricht Treaty converted the EU into a monetary union.
Lisbon Treaty strengthened political, foreign affairs and security integration of policies of countries of European Union

Constitutional Provision of Brexit:

Brexit
source

Lisbon Treaty (Article 50) provides for exit of member countries from European Union. For any country to come out of European Union, it has to negotiate a deal with EU. The deal will provide for a settlement between EU and UK

Opinion of Political Groups

  • UK Independence Party, under the leadership of Nigel Farrage led the “Leave” campaign of UK
  • Labour Party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn led the “Stay”’ campaign of UK
  • David Cameron, ex PM of UK agreed to hold a referendum on Unikted Kingdom’s future in EU. Conservatives were in favour of staying in EU

Why the clamour for Brexit

  • Economic reasons – The primary contention was that economically, Britain loses more than what it gains.
    1. The first issue being that of membership fees paid – about 340 pounds per year per household
    2. Secondly, it was said that EU’s policies were too protectionist and did not favour competitiveness to the extent that would be beneficial for the British economy
    3. Post the Sovereign Debt Crisis, EU introduced Fiscal Compact and tighter control on national budgets. Britain was not comfortable with these ideas
    4. Germany’s proposal to impose taxes on financial transactions (Tobin Tax) also did not find favour with London, which is an important financial hub.
  • Immigration issues
    1. Half of British legal migrants come from EU. There is this feeling that they have a negative impact on UK born workers. Adding credence to local fears was the fact that since 1997, 3/4th of jobs created are taken up by EU immigrants
    2. EU’s obligation on its members to accommodate more refugees also did not find favour with UK. Especially at a time when the refugee influx in Europe is at an all time high in light of multiple crisis in Middle East and Africa
    3. There is also this perception that immigrants pose a threat to national security
  • Sovereignty Issue
    1. EU is a transformative idea in many senses. One of the things that it leads to is the weakening of national sovereignty. EU has been pushing for creation of an Ever Closer Union which would accord greater decision making powers to European Parliament, while, limiting the authority of British Parliament.

Impact of Brexit:

On UK Economic

  1. EU is a large market. 45% of British exports are directed towards EU. EU is the largest market for UK’s exports and one of the major sources of UK’s imports. Except Germany and Sweden, UK has a positive Balance of Trade with all other countries of EU. Post Brexit, access to EU markets would suffer for UK
  2. Britain has emerged as a major financial hub. Post Brexit, the financial/services sector in UK would take a hit. We have already seen the London Exchange soaring down post Brexit
  3. Immigrants to EU are better educated and skilled and offset the demographic disadvantage. That advantage will be lost for UK.

Geopolitical

  1. It raises questions over the future of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their desire to stay in Uk was preconditioned on UK remaining a part of EU. The Scots have already started demanding for a referendum on Scotland’s futute in UK. Even in Northen Ireland violence erupted post the Brexit vote
  2. In an interconnected world, being a part of multilateral organizations is key to influence policy matters. No country can do it alone in a rapidly changing international environment. Similarly UK would lose some of its leverage now that it has voted for Brexit. Pursuit of sovereignty in purist terms in an interconnected world is a utopian idea

On EU

  1. The idea of EU stands challenged. EU whose origin lied in the centuries of war that ravaged Europe was a transformative idea in international relations, enmeshing countries in cooperation. With the exit of UK, there is a possibility of other countries such as Greece etc to follow suit. Thus the idea of EU stands challenged.
  2. EU is currently under multiple crisis emanating from financial slowdown, Russian challenge, security concerns. EU and Britain separately would not be able to handle a resurgent Russia. Similarly to deal with the security threats in Europe requires countries to act in concert and not independently

 

On India

Cons

  1. The immediate impact of Brexit is an increase in risk aversion when it comes to investing, especially in light of the possibility of other countries following suit. This will affect the FPI outflows from foreign portfolio investors.
  2. Rupee may depreciate because of the double effect of foreign fund outflow and dollar rise
  3. IANS report says that Britain ranks 12th in terms of India’s bilateral trade with individual countries. It is also among 7 in top 25 countries with which India enjoys a trade surplus. India invests more in UK than the rest of Europe combined, emerging as the 3rd largest FDI investor. Access to European markets, therefore, is a key driver for Indian companies setting shop in UK. Britain coming out of EU is likely to affect the business prospects of these companies.
  4. Nasscom in a recent report held that IT and ITeS industry of India will have a negative impact of close to $108bn. The impact can be seen in medium term (2-3 years). Indian IT companies with European headquarters in the UK would need to spend on infrastructure and staff for setting up a new office in the EU. (There are approximately 800 Indian companies in Britain)
  5. Immigration (student and professional): Work-related visa restrictions have already resulted in a fall in the number of Indian students in the UK. Following Brexit, the number of Indian students applying to UK universities and colleges might reduce further. Sceptics also fear that visitation rights of relatives who have families in UK might also be affected. Also, those applying for visas in Britain may face a hard time. With Brexit, the government’s stance on immigration will likely curb overall immigration into the country.

Pros

  1. While on the positive side, Brexit has driven away fears of a US Fed rate hike and could lead to lower commodity prices
  2. UK loses a huge preferential market in the EU and would seek to build new alliances and trade pacts. India being one of the the fastest growing economies is rightly poised to gain from this development. The migration of EU skilled labour would decrease and english speaking Indian talent pool is definitely going to benefit out of it.
  3. Indian students should be able to secure more financing for their college degree, as preferential scholarships to EU countries will reduce. This would mean India could be seen exporting more talent than present levels.
  4. Devaluation of rupee might enhance India’s export competitiveness.
  5. The positive side will be the trade deals with india. Indo-Eu bilateral trade agreement has not made much headway in years so we may be able to strike a better agreement with UK. 
  6. Also, let us not forget than India is a former colony of Britain and a member of Commonwealth of Nations. With UK separated from EU, it would want to create new economic alliances and may tilt towards its former colonies. 

 

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