Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

The challenge for Middle Powers like India, France and Germany

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Challenges for the middle powers

Context

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to European capitals should help both sides acquire a better understanding of each other’s security concerns. Whether it will fundamentally alter equations remains to be seen.

New India-EU equation

  • As “Middle Powers”, countries like France, Germany and India should seek policy space for themselves and not be forced into taking positions by the Big Powers — the United States, China and Russia.
  • The EU is understandably concerned about Russian aggressiveness in Europe.
  •  ndia is equally concerned about Chinese aggressiveness in Asia. 
  • Even after Russia has sought to tear down the post-Cold War security structure in Europe, India has stayed the course in its equations both with Russia and the European Union.

Division of national and group agenda and its implications for India

  • While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the context in which Modi visited Europe and the head of the European Union visited India, the fact is that the agenda at bilateral meetings with individual European countries has generally been very different from the agenda that the EU prefers to focus on.
  • While individual European nations, especially Germany and France, focus on their own strategic and business interests, including defence equipment sales, the EU retains the remit for negotiating trade and investment rules.
  • Problem for India: This division of national and group agendas has often posed a problem for India because individual countries cannot offer bilateral market access in exchange for bilateral defence deals.
  • So the French will sell Rafale jets in the name of strategic partnership but they cannot offer a trade and investment deal that Brussels will not allow Paris to strike with India.
  • While the EU and G7 may now wish to derisk, if not decouple, from aggressively rising China, how much they would be able to do in this regard and what they would be willing to do to help a slowly rising India remains to be seen.

Way forward

  • For India’s part, it is not clear at the moment how much and what it can unilaterally offer Europe beyond the promise of standing up to China or reducing dependence on Russia.
  • Challenge for the three middle powers lies in combine their “strength and stability” to ensure “peace and tranquillity” in their respective neighbourhoods.
  • If middle powers like Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa and others can work together they may well be able to impose some discipline on the three big powers — China, Russia and the US.

Conclusion

At a time when big powers lurking behind in seeking to stabilise and shape the global order middle powers need to act to balance the influence exerted by the big powers.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

How a trade deal with EU could shape up?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : India-EU Trade Relations

After signing comprehensive economic and trade agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia, India has stepped up efforts to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU).

What is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)?

  • A FTA is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them.
  • Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange.
  • The concept of free trade is the opposite of trade protectionism or economic isolationism.
  • Countries often agree to FTAs if their economic structures are complementary, not competitive.

India-EU Trade Ties

  • The EU is India’s third largest trading partner, accounting for 11.8% of India’s total trade in 2020-21, after the US (12.61%) and China (12.59%).
  • It is India’s second-largest export destination after the US.
  • India is the EU’s tenth largest trading partner, accounting for 1.8% of the EU’s total trade in goods in 2020.
  • The EU is also a major source of FDI in India. Between April 2000 and March 2021, FDI flows from the EU to India totalled $88.32 billion.

How would the FTA help India?

  • It will help Indian exporters gain competitive advantage in the EU markets while helping domestic manufacturers get cheaper access to imports from the EU.
  • India’s major exports to the EU include mineral fuels, mechanical appliances, electrical and electronic machineries, organic chemicals, automobiles and auto components, pharmaceuticals, precious stones, and iron and steel products.
  • The untapped export potential for India in the seven major markets of the EU—Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, and Switzerland—is around $26.8 billion.

Why is the FTA important for the EU?

  • After Brexit, the EU is trying to clinch trade deals to diversify supply chains and find profitable exporting destinations for European companies.
  • The EU is looking for a large market as intra-EU trade remains stagnant and trade with the UK shrinks because of new institutional trade barriers.
  • The FTA with India will also help the EU reduce trade ties with Russia.

What are the key stumbling blocks?

  • A major point of contention has been the EU’s demand for  reduction in India’s tariff rate.
  • Earlier talks did not resolve issues involving trade in agriculture and services, digital trade, intellectual property rights, and commitments on sustainable development issues such as environmental, social, and labour rights.
  • Visa requirements and work permits for Indian workers to the EU have been a major bone of contention.
  • Restrictions on transfer of personal data from the EU to other countries is a barrier for trade in digital services.

What is the likelihood of an agreement?

  • The two sides have set the ball rolling on the FTA.
  • The president of the European Commission recently agreed to establish a trade and technology council to deliberate on data protection regulations and strengthening digital trade between India and the EU.
  • PM Modi’s recent visit to three key EU member countries is expected to further reinvigorate the FTA talks.

Also read

[Burning Issue] India-EU Relations

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-Denmark relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India-Europe Trade and Technology Council

Mains level : Paper 2- India-Europe engagement

Context

As Russia, isolated by unprecedented Western sanctions, deepens its alliance with China, Europe has begun to loom larger than ever before in India’s strategic calculus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Berlin, Copenhagen, and Paris this week could give us a glimpse of India’s post-Russian strategic future in Europe.

Engagement with collective Europe

  • In her visit to Delhi, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von Der Leyn, unveiled the new contours of the EU’s strategic partnership with India by launching the India-Europe Trade and Technology Council. 
  • This week, the focus is on India’s key bilateral partnerships with European majors — Germany and France — as well as a critical northern corner of Europe, the so-called Norden.
  • Having built up a significant engagement with Moscow over the decades, India and Germany are under pressure to disentangle from the Russian connection.
  • Modi and Scholz could also exchange notes on how their long-standing illusions about China came crashing down.
  • Macron’s return to power in France offers a good moment for Modi to imagine the next phase in bilateral relations.
  • For some time now it has been said that France is India’s “new Russia” — Delhi’s most important strategic partner.
  • In recent years, France has emerged as a strong defender of India’s interests in the United Nations Security Council and a regional ally in the vast Indo-Pacific theatre.
  • France has also been a major supplier of advanced arms to India.
  • But Delhi and Paris have been some distance away from demonstrating full possibilities of their defence partnership.
  • There is no doubt that Western Europe has moved from the margins to the centre of India’s foreign and security policies.
  • The crisis in Ukraine, which has shattered the regional order that emerged in 1991, intensifies the imperatives for deeper strategic cooperation between India and its European partners.

India’s engagement with smaller European countries

  • In Copenhagen, the bilateral talks with Danish leadership are about Delhi finally finding time for the smaller European countries.
  • The Nordic summit hosted by Denmark underlines India’s discovery of the various sub-regions of Europe — from the Baltics to the Balkans and from Iberia to Mittleuropa.
  • The Nordic Five — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden — have a population of barely 25 million but their GDP at $1.8 trillion is greater than that of Russia.
  • Two members of the Nordic five — Sweden and Finland — are now rushing to end their long-standing neutral status and join NATO.
  • The other three — Denmark, Iceland, and Norway — have been founding members of NATO, set up in 1949.
  • Listening to the Nordic leaders might help Delhi appreciate the deeply-held fears about Russia among Moscow’s smaller neighbours.
  • In Copenhagen, Modi would want to build on the unique bilateral green strategic partnership with Denmark.

Germany and India’s engagement with Russia

  • Berlin is tied far more deeply to Russia than India.
  • Germany’s annual trade with Russia is about $60 billion while India’s is at $10 bn.
  • Germany relies heavily on Russian natural gas, while Russian arms dominate India’s weaponry.
  • Irrespective of their Russian preferences, Germany and India have no option but to live with circumstances over which they have no control.
  • Opportunity for India: Making India an attractive new destination for German capital, now under pressure to reduce its exposure to Russian and Chinese markets, should be the highest priority for PM Modi.
  • Germany is one of India’s oldest economic partners, but the full potential of the commercial relationship has never been realised.
  • If there ever was a moment to think big about the future of German trade and investment in India, it is now.

Conclusion

A new paradigm is beckoning India — strong commercial and security partnerships with Europe that stand on their own merit and bring the many synergies between them into active play.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Making the most of the diplomatic attention

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- India as a key architects of a new international order

Context

India has witnessed a flurry of diplomatic activity during the past week with a long line of ministers, senior military officers and diplomats from a number of countries visiting Delhi and engaging with their Indian counterparts.

Highlights of this year’s Raisina Dialogue

  • The senior-most official and inaugural speaker was Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
  • The European presence was prominent.
  • China and Russia were absent from among official delegates, which is a pity.
  • The European presence was prominent. China and Russia were absent from among official delegates.
  • The focus narrowed down to the Ukraine war and, more specifically, India’s posture on Russia’s increasingly brutal assault on the hapless people of Ukraine.
  • It fell to the external affairs minister to deflect the expectations of India on this score.

What should be India’s approach toward West?

  • India will need the West more than it has in the recent past, whether in building up its deterrent capabilities or accelerating its own economic and technological transformation.
  • India’s Quad partners the US, Japan, Australia, its partners in Europe and several ASEAN countries, see India as an anchor that could help stabilise the international situation.
  • They have a stake in India emerging as an influential power and are willing to contribute to that end.
  • The temptation to indulge in criticising each other should be avoided.

Why India should recalibrate its ties with Russia?

  • Assumptions about Russia-China ties: A key assumption in India’s Russia policy has been that as a great power, Moscow would be unlikely to accept a junior partnership with China.
  • It was also assumed that in the long run, Russian and Chinese interests would not be aligned and, therefore, India should maintain a close relationship with Moscow.
  • Even if the Ukraine war had not erupted, the February 4 Sino-Russian Joint Declaration should have led India to question the continuing validity of these assumptions.
  • There are valid legacy reasons for maintaining positive ties with Russia just as some European countries have had to do.
  • The reality is that India-Russia relations are not a continuation of the old Indo-Soviet ties.
  • That strategic partnership that helped India cope with the Cold War and the Chinese and Pakistani threats evaporated with the end of that war and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • Moscow no longer saw Beijing as its main security challenge but for India, China became a bigger challenge.
  • Marginal economic and trade relations: India’s economic and trade relationship with Russia has become increasingly marginal.
  • Defence relationship diminishing progressively: Even the defence hardware relationship has diminished progressively as India has rightly tried to diversify its sources of supply.
  • The legacy in this respect, too, is of diminishing relevance.
  •  India may have its issues with the existing order but what is envisaged in the Joint Declaration is not the alternative which would enhance India’s interests.

Way forward for India

  • Remain engaged with Russia and China: In a shifting geopolitical landscape, it is in India’s interest to remain engaged with Russia and China as two leading powers in the world.
  • Such engagement is important to gauge how these powers are themselves adjusting to the changing geopolitical equations across the world.
  • The US has shaken off the taint of its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan but its domestic politics is unpredictable and this calls for caution.
  • Europe will likely emerge as a more coherent and cohesive entity, anchored in German power, and playing a role more independent of the US than hitherto.
  • Deepen partnership with Europe: All the more reason why India must deepen its all-round partnership with Europe, build a shared vision of an altered geopolitical landscape and encourage Europe to play a greater role in the Indo-Pacific.

Conclusion

The attention being paid to India is substantive. A rare but perishable opportunity has presented itself to significantly advance India’s long-term prospects. It must be grasped with single-minded tenacity.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-UK relations: A new shine to old ties

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- India-UK ties

Context

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosts British premier Boris Johnson this week in India, the moment is ripe to turn the expansive new possibilities — in trade, investment, high technology, defence, and regional cooperation— into concrete outcomes.

Background of the India-UK ties and  paradoxes

  • Legacies of colonialism: The bitter legacies of colonialism had made it impossible for the two sides to pursue a sensible relationship in the past.
  • India’s post-colonial engagement with Britain has been riddled with multiple paradoxes.
  • 1] India’s post-post colonial resentment and UK’s claim for special role: Delhi’s lingering post-colonial resentments and London’s unacceptable claim for a special role in the Subcontinent generated unending friction.
  • The consequences of Partition and the Cold War made it harder for Delhi and London to construct a sustainable partnership.
  • The important role played by the US: It was the US that first recognised India’s rapidly-growing relative weight in the international system.
  • At the turn of the millennium, Washington unveiled a policy of assisting India’s rise.
  • This was based on a bipartisan American consensus that a stronger India will serve US interests in Asia and the world.
  • Over the last two decades, it has led to a quick transformation of US relations with India.
  • 2] Washington is setting the pace for Delhi’s relationship with London:  At the dawn of Independence, India saw London as the natural interlocutor with an unfamiliar Washington.
  • Today it is Washington that is setting the pace for Delhi’s relationship with London.
  •  3] China’s role in shaping India’s relations with the West: For Washington, the strategic commitment to assist India’s rise was rooted in the recognition of the dangers of a China-dominated Asia.
  • London in the last two decades was moving in the other direction — a full embrace of Beijing.
  • Once the American deep state decided to confront Chinese power in the late 2010s, London had to extricate itself from the Chinese Communist Party’s powerful spell.
  • As the US unveiled a new Asian strategy, Britain followed with its own “Indo-Pacific tilt” that helped secure the region against China’s muscular policies.
  • 4] Historic tilt towards Pakistan: Unlike the US and France, which are committed to an “India first” strategy in South Asia, Britain remains torn between its new enthusiasm for India and the inertia of its historic tilt towards Pakistan.
  • But India is confident that Pakistan’s relative decline in the region is bound to make it a less weighty factor in India’s bilateral relations with Britain.
  • The question of Pakistan brings us to the fourth paradox—the domestic dynamics of Britain that have tended to sour ties with India.
  • Delhi has figured out that the interconnected politics of India and Britain — shaped by the large South Asian diaspora of nearly four million — can be cut both ways.
  • 5] Making best of historic ties:  If the Tories are romantic about the Raj, nationalists in India bristle at the British imperial connection.
  • Yet, together they are constructing a new relationship between India and Britain.

Better outlook for bilateral ties

  • As the two sides make a determined effort to transcend the paradoxes, the regional and international circumstances provide a new basis for mutually beneficial engagement.
  • Over the last couple of years, Delhi and London have begun a promising and pragmatic engagement devoid of sentiment and resentment.
  • Having walked out of Europe, Britain needs all the partners it can find and a rising India is naturally among the top political and economic priorities.
  • Delhi meanwhile has become supremely self-assured in dealing with London.
  • With the Indian economy set to become larger than Britain’s in the next couple of years, Delhi is no longer defensive about engaging Britain.
  • Even more important, Delhi recognises the value of a deep strategic partnership with London.

Conclusion

The UK has a significant international military presence and wide-ranging political influence. Realists in Delhi are trying to leverage these British strengths for India’s strategic benefit.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

A good foreign policy must also make a difference at home

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Building blocks of India's foreign policy

Context

This is the edited excerpts from the lecture delivered by India’s External Affairs Minister at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi on March 24.

Relevance of foreign policy at personal level

  • Through a good foreign policy, our everyday needs from the world must be better met.
  • And since we are a collective as a country, our national security must be assured.
  • Foreign policy being the link to the outside, it should enable us to draw what we seek.
  • This could be in terms of technology or capital, best practices, or even work opportunities.
  • And obviously, we would all like to be strong; we would like to look good and we would like to feel appreciated.

Recent instances in which India’s foreign policy directly influence the common man

  • Through Operation Ganga, Indian students stuck in Ukraine were brought home.
  • It was the result of intervention by India’s foreign policy apparatus at the highest levels in Russia and Ukraine to ensure the ceasing of fire for safe passage.
  •  When the first wave of Covid hit India in 2020, we scrambled across the world to secure PPEs, masks and ventilators.
  • And we did so in a seller’s market as the demand far exceeded supply.
  •  The second wave in 2021 saw a similar spike in demand for oxygen and specialised medicines from abroad.
  • Locating, negotiating and contracting supplies became the priority for Indian diplomacy. And it bent its back to deliver.

Influence of foreign policy at the collective level

  • When it comes to security, external or internal, diplomacy could be a preventive, a mitigator or a problem-solver.
  • It can help raise awareness of a shared threat, just as it can find partners against common dangers.
  •  And then there is the economy, with its search for investment, technology and best practices.
  • In each of these sectors, foreign relationships can accelerate India’s progress.
  • And cumulatively, they expand employment and improve your quality of life.
  • It also matters to all of us what other nations think of India, our culture and our way of life.

Role of foreign policy in delivering on development

  • The most effective foreign policy is one that delivers on development.
  • In Asia, all modernising economies have single-mindedly focused their external interactions on obtaining capital, technology and best practices from abroad.
  • It may be information technology or auto manufacturing, food production or food processing, metros or bullet trains, space capabilities or nuclear energy; the fruits of foreign collaboration are there today for all of us to see.
  • Newer challenges like green growth and climate action have started to open up still more possibilities.
  • All this happens because of our ability to identify, engage, negotiate and leverage opportunities of interest abroad across many many domains.

Building blocks of India’s foreign policy

  • The six broad objectives that were spelt out to the policy-makers and implementers were clear.
  • 1] Shaping global perception: We must bring about a change of thinking in the world about us.
  • 2] Partnership on equal terms: The partnerships we should create should be on more equal terms, and with smaller countries, more generous.
  • 3] Shaping the global agenda: The global agenda and the big issues of our times should be shaped by India as much as possible.
  • 4] Leveraging foreign policy for domestic progress: Foreign relationships should be actively explored and leveraged for domestic development and progress.
  • 5] People-centric foreign policy: The very conceptualisation of foreign policy should be more people-centric.
  • 6] Our culture, traditions and thoughts should percolate our own articulation as well as influence international debates and initiatives.
  • Yoga and Ayurveda were obvious examples in this regard.

Conclusion

As we mark 75 years of independence, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, there is good cause to be confident about our prospects. But to be so, it is equally important to be aware of the opportunities and challenges that the world currently presents. And surely, we can be so once we appreciate how much foreign policy really matters.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

The significance of EU-India partnership in the Indo-Pacific

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Global Gateway initiative

Mains level : Paper 2- Indo-EU partnership in Indo-Pacific

Context

Europe and its key Indo-Pacific partners are joining forces to deliver a positive agenda for the region at the ministerial Forum to be held in Paris.

Importance of Indo-Pacific for EU

  • The issues at stake in this crucial region, including security challenges, are of concern to all EU countries.
  • EU unveiled EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,  in September 2021.
  •  Europe can offer the countries of the region a sustainable, transparent model for preserving their sovereignty, and an alternative to other models, such as China’s.
  • Addressing the connectivity and infrastructure need: There are immense connectivity and infrastructure needs in the Indo-Pacific.
  • But these needs should not force the countries of the region into unsustainable dependencies.
  • The EU’s Global Gateway initiative unveiled in December 2021 hopes to address this by pooling the resources of the EU’s institutions and its 27 member states to raise 300 billion euros to build sustainable links.
  • India’s role: The EU and India have already concluded a Connectivity Partnership (last May in Porto), which can be a pillar of this wider initiative.
  • The Indo-Pacific is a crucial region for tackling global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity protection and health resilience. 
  • At the Forum, the EU will present the support it can provide to countries of the region, including in terms of green finance, to achieve their ecological transitions in a just manner.
  • The ministers will also discuss concrete steps to strengthen health sovereignty and promote the “One Health” approach to the pandemic response.

Role of France and India in the region

  • France, itself a nation of the Indo-Pacific, has a long-standing commitment to upholding the law of the sea in the region, particularly through our permanent naval presence and joint exercises, such as our annual “Varuna” drills with India.
  • In the fields of biodiversity protection and plastic pollution, France and India can act together to spur multilateral action, as exemplified by India’s decision to join the France-initiated international coalition to protect 30 per cent of the land and seas by 2030 (High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People).
  • Cooperation between France and India on protected areas and national parks can also be expanded at the Indo-Pacific scale.
  • At the forum, France will propose the creation of an Indo-Pacific health campus, to be established in India, to bring together India’s pharmaceutical prowess and Europe’s technological capacity for the benefit of the region.

Conclusion

In a world of growing tensions, the core goal of France’s EU Presidency is to strengthen Europe’s sovereignty and its ability to decide its own fate. This endeavour matches India’s fundamental aspiration for strategic autonomy.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

What is the Munich Security Conference (MSC)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Munich Security Conference

Mains level : NA

The latest edition of MSC a week ago assumed significance as it was here that the Ukrainian President appealed for help ahead of the Russian invasion.

Munich Security Conference

  • The Munich Security Conference is an annual conference on international security policy that has been held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany since 1963.
  • It brings together heads of state, diplomats and business leaders from the world’s leading democracies for three days of meetings and presentations.
  • It is the world’s largest gathering of its kind.
  • Over the past four decades the MSC has become the most important independent forum for the exchange of views by international security policy decision-makers.

How did it begin?

  • When the MSC was founded in 1963, it was envisioned as a way for leaders, mostly from the West, to discuss threats and dangers in an informal setting.
  • Most of the concerns at the time stemmed from the Cold War, which had dominated world politics for nearly a half-century.
  • Over time, the conference evolved into a platform for airing grievances and workshopping political agreements, some of them outside the realm of East-West relations.
  • In recent years, the conference has often invited leaders from authoritarian countries, and even adversaries, to speak.

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Russian actions in Ukraine hardly pass the test for strategic victory

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Suwalki corridor

Mains level : Paper 2- Implications of Russia's actions in Ukraine

Context

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched “special military operations” with the objective of “demilitarising Ukraine” but not “occupying” it.

Why it was a crisis in the making?

  • Redrawing national boundaries by force: After 1945, this is the second time that national boundaries are being redrawn by force; the first was the 1999 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) air strikes on Serbian forces that led to the creation of Kosovo.
  • Russian and Chinese protests about NATO undertaking “out of area operations” without United Nations Security Council approval carried little weight.
  • After the fall of the Berlin Wall in late-1989, then U.S. Secretary Of State had assured the Soviet President that “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction one inch to the east”.
  • Rather than look for a new European security framework, the newly independent Baltic and central European states sought security in a U.S.-led NATO.
  • Beginning in 1999, NATO has added 14 new members in stages.
  • At the NATO summit in 2008, at U.S. President George Bush’s urging, an in-principle opening for Ukraine and Georgia was announced, though France and Germany, conscious of Russian concerns, successfully opposed defining a time frame.
  • Later that year, Russia intervened in Georgia on the grounds of protecting the Russian minorities and took over the northern provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
  • Annexation of Crimea:  In 2014 Mr. Putin annexed Crimea.
  • For Russia, Crimea is vital as the peninsula hosts Russia’s Black Sea fleet, providing it access to the Mediterranean and its bases at Latakia and Tartus in Syria.
  • Despite no timeline for membership, Ukraine was made a NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner in 2020.
  • The presence of British and U.S. warships in the Black Sea began to increase.
  • In 2019, the U.K. entered into a cooperation agreement with Ukraine to develop two new naval ports, Ochakiv on the Black Sea and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov, a move that Russia saw as potentially threatening.
  • Beginning with NATO’s bombing of Serbia in 1999, interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and colour revolutions to engineer regime changes, the U.S.’ unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002 coupled with missile defence deployments in Poland and Romania, Russia’s grievances were accumulating.

Faltering diplomacy

  • France and Germany initiated talks between Ukraine and Russia under the Normandy format leading to the Minsk agreements, in 2014 and 2015.
  • The first was for a ceasefire between Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists and the second was between Ukraine, Russia, the two separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
  • Supportive declarations by France and Germany were intended to address Russian security concerns.
  • Ukraine undertook to introduce certain constitutional amendments to provide a degree of autonomy to the two provinces and Russia was to assist in withdrawal of all foreign forces.
  • However, neither side implemented and positions have only hardened since.
  • Russia’s threatening moves made NATO members, especially the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and the central Europeans like Poland and Romania, especially nervous.
  • Finally, NATO remained united but unable to provide an off-ramps solution.

Implications for Russia

  • NATO has been rejuvenated, the trans-Atlantic unity strengthened and Russia’s economic ties with Europe have been adversely impacted.
  • Given Russia’s considerable foreign exchange reserves, of nearly $640 billion, sanctions imposed by the U.S. and EU may not hurt immediately but eventually will begin to bite both the oligarchs and the common people.
  • Worse, Russia will become more dependent on China — for political support as well as a market for its energy exports. 
  • This will eventually weaken its hand in central Asia.

Conclusion

For Mr Putin challenge is to constrain the adversary’s options while increasing one’s own options and space for manoeuvre. His actions this week may yield tactical gains but hardly pass the test for strategic victory.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Anchoring the United Kingdom economically to the Indo-Pacific

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AUKUS

Mains level : Paper 2- India-UK relations

Context

January this year saw the formal launch of negotiations for an India-United Kingdom free trade agreement (FTA).

Momentum in India-UK engagement

  • Despite some potential challenges, there is a new momentum in the India-U.K. bilateral engagement these days with both sides confident of moving forward swiftly.
  • Greater role for UK in Indo-Pacific: Britain has made a trade pact with India one of its post-Brexit priorities as it seeks a greater role in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Brexit has necessitated greater access to non-EU markets, and the U.K.’s changing relationship with China requires a diversification of trading partners.
  • The FTA negotiations were aimed at achieving a “fair and balanced” FTA and cover more than 90% of tariff lines so as to reach the bilateral trade target of around $100 billion by 2030.
  • There have been indications that instead of the two nations trying to tackle all sensitive issues in one go, there could be an interim pact or early harvest deal.

UK’s Indo-Pacific strategy

  • India is at the heart of the U.K.’s Indo-Pacific ‘tilt’, which has generated considerable interest around the world.
  • A range of factors have contributed for the U.K. to adopt a more robust Indo-Pacific strategy:
  • a) the trading implications of Brexit;
  • b) the U.K.’s changing approach towards China — shifting from being a major proponent of China to perhaps the most hawkish in Europe;
  • c) and the fact that the U.S. remains firmly focused on the Indo-Pacific.
  • The U.K. recognizes the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific to global stability and prosperity and has made clear its intentions to deploy strategic assets to this end.
  • The trilateral security partnership AUKUS has given London a greater voice in the region.

Consider the question “Various factors have contributed towards enhanced India-UK engagement. Examine the factors and the possibilities it offered to the two countries.”

Conclusion

The U.K. is finally carving out a direction and purpose to its post-Brexit foreign policy and this prioritization has opened up a new window for New Delhi and London to quickly finalize their FTA. It is a unique “now or never” moment and the two sides seem willing to seize it despite the challenges.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-Britain free trade agreement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- India-UK FTA

Context

In May last year, Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson announced their shared vision for a transformative decade for the India-United Kingdom partnership. These words have now been made real.

Transforming India-UK partnership

  • Doubling bilateral trade: The two leaders had declared their ambition to more than double bilateral trade by 2030, which totalled over £23 billion in 2019.
  • Reduce barriers to trade: They directed their governments to take rapid steps to reduce barriers to trade.
  • FTA: The groundwork necessary to begin work on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) had to be prepared by the end of 2021.
  • Both governments have already taken action; for example, unlocking the export of British apples to India and enabling a greater number of Indian fisheries to export shrimp to the U.K.
  • The big next step was the launch of FTA negotiations last month.

Trade relations at present

  • Bilateral trade: The bilateral trade between the two countries stood at 15.5 billion USD in 2019-20. India has engaged with the UK in sectors like pharma, textiles, leather, industrial machinery, furniture, and toys.
    • Britain is among the top investors in India and India is the second-biggest investor and a major job creator in Britain. Recently, the Serum Institute of India has announced setting up its research facilities in the UK.
  • Indian Diaspora: Around 1.5 million people of Indian origin live in Britain. This includes 15 Members of Parliament, three members in Cabinet, and two in high office as Finance and Home Ministers.
  • India is already a big investor in the U.K. — especially in dynamic sectors such as fintech, electric vehicles, and batteries.
  • India has an extraordinary opportunity to transform its economy and society in the next 30 years, as it hits its demographic sweet spot, at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region where half the world’s people live and 50% of global economic growth is produced.

Benefits of FTA

  • A U.K.-India trade agreement will stimulate growth and employment in both countries. 
  • Lower barriers coupled with greater regulatory certainty would incentivize new small and medium-sized enterprises to export their goods and services.
  • An agreement also means Indian and British consumers see improvements in the variety and affordability of products.
  • Strategic reasons: The British Government’s Integrated Review of our overseas policy, describes the world we are in; messier, with the more geostrategic competition.
  • It is one in which two dynamic democracies such as India and the U.K. need to work closely together to promote open economies.

Consider the question “Colonial prism has long distorted the perception of India-UK relation. However, both the countries stand to gain by finding a fresh basis for sustaining bilateral relations. Comment.”  

Conclusion

An FTA would mark a new way of working between the U.K. and India. It gives a new framework within which the two countries can grow and flourish together, putting the colonial economic relationship where it belongs — in the history books.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India’s challenge in European geopolitics

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NATO

Mains level : Paper 2- India-Europe relations

Context

For India, an important strategic priority today is to rebalance the Indo-Pacific. Delhi, however, recognises that this expansive challenge can’t be met by any one power, including the US. A larger European role in securing Asia therefore becomes critical.

Importance of Russia in balancing China

  • Peace with Russia in Europe might be necessary for America to focus on Asia has been the key motivation behind President Joe Biden’s decision to intensify engagement with Vladimir Putin in the last few months.
  • On the question of Ukraine’s membership of NATO, the US and its European allies have suggested that membership is certainly not imminent; but they are unwilling to say Ukraine will “never” be admitted.

Contradiction in Europe

  • 1] Europe remains geopolitically unstable: None of the three European settlements of the 20th century — in 1919 after the First World War, in 1945 after the Second World War, and in 1991 after the Cold War — has endured.
  • 2] The difficulty of integrating Russia into a European order: Russia was part of the great power system in Europe through the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • If the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution put Russia and the West at odds with each other, the collapse of the Soviet Union has not resolved the contradiction.
  • 3] Growing tension between the US and Europe: Since the Second World War, Europe has relied on the US for its security.
  • However, Europe has never stopped resenting the American dominance over its geopolitics.
  • The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has repeatedly objected to the US and Russia deciding the future of Ukraine over European heads.
  • But Russia does not take the EU seriously and is betting on negotiations with the US.
  • 4] Europe still remains a weak security actor:  While the EU has become a powerful economic entity (with its $17 trillion GDP), it remains a weak security actor.
  • Whatever might be the outcome from the gathering conflict over Ukraine, these European contradictions are not going to disappear any time soon.

Why Europe remains a weak security actor?

  • Dominance of the US and Russia: The ambition to construct a strong geopolitical personality for the EU is hobbled by divisions over the role of Russia and the US in the region.
  • Mutual suspicions: The historically rooted mutual suspicions among European states also plays role.
  • Reluctance to spend on defence: This is compounded by the reluctance to spend more on defence and the inability to develop collective defence arrangements outside of NATO led by the US.

Suggestions for India

  • The contradictions in Europe demand that Delhi discard its tendency to view the region through the “East versus West” binary.
  • Delhi today could profitably take a leaf out of the book of the Indian national movement.
  • In the late 18th century, as European powers competed for influence in the subcontinent, many Indian princes sought to take advantage of the contradictions between Britain and France.
  • Imperial Germany supported the formation of a nationalist government of India in Kabul in 1915 headed by Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh.
  • Eager to accelerate Indian independence during the Second World War, Netaji turned to Germany and Japan, the world’s newest great power.
  • The sharpening struggle for Indian independence, and more broadly the liberation of Asia between the two World Wars, inevitably involved exploiting the contradictions between different imperial powers.
  •  This was complicated, however, by rapid realignment among the major powers —friends became adversaries and enemies became allies.
  • The Indian and Asian national movements were deeply divided in coping with the shifting great power dynamic.
  • The world enters a similar moment today that could rearrange relations between the US, UK, Europe, Russia, China and Japan.

Consider the question “What are the contradictions in Europe today? How these contradiction can play role in India’s international relations with the European countries?”

Conclusion

Greater engagement with Europe and dealing with its multiple contradictions must necessarily be important elements of India’s international relations today.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

The EU’s role in the Indo-Pacific

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AUKUS

Mains level : Paper 2- EU's role in Indo-Pacific

Context

Speedy development of the Quad comprising Australia, Japan, India and the U.S.; the emergence of AUKUS comprising Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.; and other alignments raise the question: where does Europe stand in relation to this churning?

Significance of EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy

  • Europe’s Asia connect is old, strong and multi-layered.
  • Since 2018, countries such as France, the Netherlands, Germany and the U.K. announced their specific policies towards the Indo-Pacific.
  • The announcement by the Council of the European Union of its initial policy conclusions in April, followed by the unveiling of the EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific on September 16, are notable.
  • Focus on security and development: The policy document also says cooperation will be strengthened in sustainable and inclusive prosperity, green transition, ocean governance, digital governance and partnerships, connectivity, security and defence, and human security.

Way forward for EU

  • Support France: The EU’s security and defence capabilities are quite limited, as compared to the U.S. and China.
  • To obviate an imbalance in favour of economic links, EU will need to give adequate space and support to France which has sizeable assets and linkages with the Indo-Pacific.
  • Coordination with UK: EU also must forge strategic coordination with the U.K. as the latter prepares to expand its role in Asia as part of its ‘Global Britain’ strategy.
  • Leverage economic power: As a major economic power, the EU has an excellent chance of success in its trade negotiations with Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand; economic partnership agreement with the East African Community; and in forging fisheries agreements and green alliances.
  • To achieve all this and more, EU must increase its readiness to share its financial resources and new technologies with partners.
  • Internally coordinated approach:Many states view China as a great economic opportunity, but others are acutely conscious of the full contours of the China challenge.
  • Russia next door is the more traditional threat. It is increasingly on China’s side.
  • Hence, the EU should find it easy to cooperate with the Quad.
  • AUKUS, endeavours by a part of the western alliance to bolster naval and technological facilities to deal with China should be welcome.

Way forward for India

  • India’s pivotal position in the region necessitates a closer India-EU partnership.
  • Early conclusion of an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement and a standalone investment protection agreement will be major steps.
  • Cooperation in Industry 4.0 technologies is desirable.
  • Consolidating and upgrading defence ties with France, Germany and the U.K. should also remain a significant priority.

Conclusion

The EU can create a vantage position for itself in the Indo-Pacific by being more candid with itself, more assertive with China, and more cooperative with India.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-Eurasia Relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Integrated approach to Eurasia

Context

Delhi’s Indo-Pacific strategy has acquired political and institutional traction, thanks to intensive Indian diplomacy in recent years. It must now devote similar energy to the development of a “Eurasian” policy.

Need for Eurasian strategy and challenges

  • This week’s consultations in Delhi on the crisis in Afghanistan among the region’s top security policymakers is part of developing a Eurasian strategy.
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has invited his counterparts from Pakistan, Iran, Central Asia, Russia, and China to join this discussion on Wednesday.
  • Pakistan has declined to join.
  • Pakistan’s reluctance to engage with India on Afghanistan reveals Delhi’s persisting problem with Islamabad in shaping a new Eurasian strategy.
  • But it also reinforces the urgency of an Indian strategy to deal with Eurasia.

Factors shaping India’s Eurasian policy

  • The most important development in Eurasia today is the dramatic rise of China and its growing strategic assertiveness, expanding economic power and rising political influence.
  • Beijing’s muscular approach to the long and disputed border with Bhutan and India, its quest for a security presence in Tajikistan, the active search for a larger role in Afghanistan, and a greater say in the affairs of the broader sub-Himalayan region are only one part of the story.
  • Physical proximity multiplies China’s economic impact on the inner Asian regions.
  •  These leverages, in turn, were reinforced by a deepening alliance with Russia that straddles the Eurasian heartland. Russia’s intractable disputes with Europe and America have increased Moscow’s reliance on Beijing.
  • Amidst mounting challenges from China in the Indo-Pacific maritime domain, Washington has begun to rethink its strategic commitments to Eurasia. 
  • Whether defined as “burden-sharing” in Washington or “strategic autonomy” in Brussels, Europe must necessarily take on a larger regional Eurasian security role.
  • More broadly, regional powers are going to reshape Eurasia.

What should be India’s approach to Eurasia

  • Like the Indo-Pacific, Eurasia is new to India’s strategic discourse.
  • To be sure, there are references to India’s ancient civilisational links with Eurasia.
  • While there are many elements to an Indian strategy towards Eurasia, three of them stand out.
  • Put Europe back into India’s continental calculus: As India now steps up its engagement with Europe, the time has come for it to begin a strategic conversation with Brussels on Eurasian security.
  • This will be a natural complement to the fledgling engagement between India and Europe on the Indo-Pacific.
  • India’s Eurasian policy must necessarily involve greater engagement with both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
  • Intensify the dialogue on Eurasian security with Russia: While Indo-Russian differences on the Indo-Pacific, the Quad, China, and the Taliban are real, Delhi and Moscow have good reasons to narrow their differences on Afghanistan and widen cooperation on continental Eurasian security.
  • Indian collaboration with both Persia and Arabia: If Persia’s location makes it critical for the future of Afghanistan and Central Asia, the religious influence of Arabia and the weight of the Gulf capital are quite consequential in the region.
  • India’s partnerships with Persia and Arabia are also critical in overcoming Turkey’s alliance with Pakistan that is hostile to Delhi.

Challenges

  • Contradictions: India will surely encounter many contradictions in each of the three areas — between and among America, Europe, Russia, China, Iran, and the Arab Gulf.
  • As in the Indo-Pacific, so in Eurasia, Delhi should not let these contradictions hold India back.

Consider the question ” Eurasia involves the recalibration of India’s continental strategy. India has certainly dealt with Eurasia’s constituent spaces separately over the decades. What Delhi now needs is an integrated approach to Eurasia. In the context of this, examine the challenges in India’s engagement with Eurasia and suggest the elements that should form part of India’s strategy towards Eurasia.”

Conclusion

The current flux in Eurasian geopolitics will lessen some of the current contradictions and generate some new antinomies in the days ahead. The key for India lies in greater strategic activism that opens opportunities in all directions in Eurasia.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

EU, India and the Indo-Pacific

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : EU

Mains level : Paper 2- EU Indo-Pacific strategy

Context

Last month, the EU released it “EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific”. This document is very rich and needs to be analysed in the context of the rapprochement between the EU and India, which culminated in the June EU-India summit, a “turning point” according to some analysts.

Important takeaways from EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy

  • The EU strategy in the Indo-Pacific appears to be over-determined by China’s expansionism.
  • “The display of force and increasing tensions in regional hotspots such as in the South and East China Sea and in the Taiwan Strait may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity,” the document says.
  • If security interests are highlighted in the beginning, they are rather low in the list of the objectives of the EU Indo-Pacific strategy, which are listed as: “Sustainable and inclusive prosperity; green transition; ocean governance; digital governance and partnerships; connectivity; security and defence; human security”.
  • Many paragraphs of the document are dedicated to values, including human rights.

India does not figure prominently in the policy document

  • In terms of partnerships, India does not figure very prominently.
  • By contrast, ASEAN is presented as “an increasingly important partner for the EU”.
  • However, India appears in the list of the countries which already have an Indo-Pacific strategy and with which the EU is interested in a deeper “engagement”, a list made of ASEAN, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the UK and US.
  • However, the document does not mention the role India could play in value-chain diversification, a top priority of the EU since the Covid-19 pandemic in particular.
  • Yet, India is mentioned few pages later in a similar perspective when it is said that the EU will help “low and middle-income Indo-Pacific partners to secure access to the Covid-19 vaccine through the Covax facility and through other means”.
  • What the French see as India’s main asset, its strategic dimension, is not central in the EU document.
  •  India is listed as the EU’s first partner only in one area: “under the project Enhancing Security Cooperation in and with Asia (ESIWA), which covers counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, maritime security and crisis management.
  • The pilot partners are India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Vietnam, with EU military experts already operating in Indonesia and in Vietnam.”

Understanding the German influence on the policy document

  • Thus, the EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific is more in tune with the German vision of the Indo-Pacific than with the French one.
  • The fact that the German approach prevails in the EU document is a reflection of the influence of Berlin’s weltanschauung (worldview) in Europe — something Brexit has accentuated, Great Britain’s Indo-Pacific strategy being similar to France’s.
  • But China’s attitude may force Germany — and the EU — to change their mind in the near future.

Conclusion

By and large, the Indo-Pacific strategy of the EU remains driven by economic considerations and India, whose main asset is geopolitical and even geostrategic, does not figure prominently in it.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Europe as a valuable strategic partner

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AUKUS

Mains level : Paper 2-Relations with EU

Context

Last week’s in-person summit in Delhi was with the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen.

Europe as a valuable partner

  • Few Asian countries view Europe with strategic suspicion. Many in Asia see Europe as a valuable partner.
  • As the deepening confrontation between the US and China begins to squeeze South East Asia, Europe is widely seen as widening the strategic options for the region.
  • The perspective is similar in Delhi, which now sees Brussels as a critical element in the construction of a multipolar world.
  • Cultivate Europe: As External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar puts it, India’s strategy is to “engage America, manage China, cultivate Europe, reassure Russia, bring Japan into play”.
  • EU’s Strategy for India: The EU outlined a strategy for India in 2018 to focus on four themes — sustainable economic modernisation, promotion of a rules-based order, foreign policy coordination, and security cooperation.
  • At the summit in Portugal in May this year, the EU and India agreed to resume free trade talks and develop a new connectivity partnership that would widen options for the world beyond the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Rebalancing the international system: Above all, there is a recognition in both Delhi and Brussels that the India-EU strategic partnership is crucial for the rebalancing of the international system amidst the current global flux.

Possibilities with smaller European countries

  • Europe looms so large in the Indian diplomatic agenda today and smaller European states draw unprecedented political attention from Delhi.
  • That Denmark, a country of barely six million people, can establish a significant green partnership with India, is a reminder that smaller countries of Europe have much to offer in India’s economic, technological, and social transformation.
  • Luxembourg brings great financial clout, Norway offers impressive maritime technologies, Estonia is a cyber power, Czechia has deep strengths in optoelectronics, Portugal is a window to the Lusophone world, and Slovenia offers commercial access to the heart of Europe through its Adriatic sea port at Koper.
  • As India begins to realise this untapped potential, there are new openings with the 27-nation EU headquartered in Brussels.

EU’s important role in Indo-Pacific

  • The EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy is likely to have a much greater impact on the region more immediately and on a wider range of areas than military security.
  • Area’s of impact range from trade and investment to green partnerships, the construction of quality infrastructure to digital partnerships, and from strengthening ocean governance to promoting research and innovation.
  • Defence and security are important elements of the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy that “seeks to promote an open and rules-based regional security architecture, including secure sea lines of communication, capacity-building and enhanced naval presence in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Whatever the specific circumstances of the AUKUS deal and its impact on France, the US wants all its partners, especially Europe, to contribute actively to the reconstitution of the Asian balance of power.
  • Working with Quad: The EU strategy, in turn, sees room for working with the Quad in the Indo-Pacific, while stepping up security cooperation with a number of Asian partners, including India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • India is conscious that Europe can’t match America’s military heft in the Indo-Pacific.
  • But it could help strengthen the military balance and contribute to regional security in multiple other ways.

Consider the question “Delhi knows that Europe could significantly boost India’s capacity to influence future outcomes in the Indo-Pacific. It would also be a valuable complement to India’s Quad coalition”. Comment.

Conclusion

It was Russia that defined India’s discourse on the multipolar world after the Cold War. Today, it is Europe — with its much greater economic weight, technological strength, and normative power — that promises to boost India’s own quest for a multipolar world and a rebalanced Indo-Pacific.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Is there a role for India in divided AUKUS?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AUKUS

Mains level : Paper 2- Role for India in issues over AUKUS

Context

France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia in a diplomatic slap intended to convey its anger over a deal forged in secrecy that saw Paris lose a multi billion dollar submarine contract.

Depth and diversity of India’s relations

  • That Delhi today is a part of a difficult conversation between the US, UK, France, Europe, and Australia points to the growing depth and diversity of India’s relations with different parts of the West.
  • Popular and academic discourse on India’s foreign policy has been obsessed with the concept of “non-alignment” —was about keeping distance from the West as a whole.
  • India’s contemporary diplomacy, in contrast, takes a nuanced view of internal dynamics in the West, and recognises the political agency of individual states, and develops wide-ranging relationships with the Western nations.

Relations with France

  • Paris has always taken an independent view of the world, while remaining within the broad framework of the American alliance.
  •  In the 1990s, Paris championed the construction of a multipolar world to constrain American “hyperpower” but India did not join it.
  • The last few years, however, have seen an intensification of India’s strategic engagement with France.
  • For example, India has overcome the earlier reluctance to work with France on Indian Ocean security.

Engagement as collective and sub-region

  • The government has also stepped up on the political engagement with Europe as a collective as well as its sub-regions — from Baltics to the Balkans and from Iberia to Mitteleuropa.
  •  As India discovers that every European nation, from tiny Luxembourg to a rising Poland, has something to offer, Europe has become a thriving hub of India’s international relations.

Relations with the UK

  • Due to the bitter colonial legacy, relations between India and UK have always been underdeveloped.
  • In the last couple of years, India has made a determined effort to build a new partnership with Britain, which is the fifth-largest economy in the world, a leading financial hub, a technological powerhouse, and punches well above its weight in global affairs.

Relations with “Anglosphere”

  • India’s neglect of London also meant Delhi had no time for the “Anglosphere” that binds the UK to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
  • Many had presumed that the Anglosphere was irrelevant — AUKUS, however, is a reminder that Anglo-Saxon political bonds endure.
  • Instead of treating the Anglosphere with scepticism, India has begun to vigorously engage with the “settler colonies” that have so much to offer India — from natural resources to higher education and critical technologies.
  • The UK and its settler colonies have long been the preferred destination for the Indian diaspora (besides the US).
  • Leveraging diaspora politics: While the diaspora tends to connect the domestic politics of the Anglosphere with that of India, Delhi is figuring out that the diaspora politics can be played both ways.

Relations with Japan and Australia

  • The transformation of India’s relations with Australia has occurred despite entrenched scepticism in the foreign policy bureaucracy.
  • Finally, Japan has been a part of the West in the post-War era and Delhi’s relations with Tokyo have never been as rounded as they are today. They are also fellow members of the Quad.

Way forward for India

  • This wide-ranging engagement with the West should help Delhi convey two important messages to its partners this week.
  • Not undermining the larger goal: India needs to remind France, Australia, the UK and US of the shared interests in securing the Indo-Pacific and the dangers of letting the current quarrel undermine that larger goal.
  • Effective deterrence in Indo-Pacific: The other is to highlight the region’s vast requirements for effective deterrence in the Indo-Pacific;
  • And that there is enough room for the US, UK, France, and Europe to collaborate with Indo-Pacific partners in overlapping coalitions to develop high technology and defence-industrial cooperation in all the areas highlighted by AUKUS — effective underwater capabilities to AI, quantum computing and cyber warfare.
  • Deeper cooperation: India’s interests lie in deeper strategic cooperation with France and Europe as well as the Quad and the Anglosphere.

Conclusion

India’s diverse relationships in the West must be deployed in full measure to prevent a split in the Indo-Pacific coalition.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

EU’s vaccine travel pass discriminates against low-income countries

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green Pass

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with vaccine travel policies

Context

The introduction of Covid-19 vaccines has opened up opportunities to help revive travel. However, it is important to carefully design policies that help revive travel demand.

Vaccine certificates

  • Many countries like China and Israel have introduced vaccine certificates that ease the process of entering and travelling across the destination country for vaccinated travellers.
  • Can encourage discriminatory treatment: Though these certificates can ensure trade facilitation, they can potentially act as a trade barrier if they encourage discriminatory treatment.
  • The recent and the most contentious issue in this regard is the European Union’s “Green Pass” scheme.

Issues with European Union’s Green Pass

  • Through this vaccine certificate, the European Commission intends to remove travel restrictions such as entry bans, quarantine obligations and testing.
  • Only 4 vaccines listed: The EU has listed only four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the pass: Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty, Moderna’s Spikevax, Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.
  • It makes travellers from countries administering alternate vaccines ineligible for certification.
  • When it was launched, the policy did not even allow AstraZeneca’s Indian-manufactured vaccine, Covishield.
  • Against COVAX policy: This goes against the policy of COVAX, which has categorically stated that such measures would effectively create a two-tier system and would negatively impact the growth of economies that are already suffering the most.
  • Discriminatory against low-income countries: Vaccine doses administered per 100 people is 1.4 for low-income countries as compared to 93.2 for high-income countries.
  • This makes travellers from low-income countries ineligible to avail these certificates.
  • As per estimates based on information from the WHO, countries not administering any of the EMA-approved vaccines account for at least 14 per cent of the vaccinated population.
  • These lie mostly in low and middle-income countries, including India.
  • Harms domestic sector: Nationals from many of these countries also serve in the hospitality industries in countries across the world, including Europe.
  • With this exclusion criteria, an indirect cost burden is put on their domestic service sectors that are already reeling due to the pandemic.
  • Against globalisation policy: With such discriminatory intervention, the EU policy does not go well with the globalisation policy of collective welfare.

Steps to boost vaccine production

  • Covid vaccine makers across the world have created a platform, led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to connect with key raw material suppliers needed for boosting production.
  • In a recent declaration, WTO members have agreed to review and eliminate unnecessary existing export restrictions on essential medical goods needed to combat the pandemic.

Way forward

  • Cooperate on vaccine production: To achieve the desired goal, countries need to cooperate on vaccine production to accelerate the global vaccination process.
  • Remove restrictions and trade barriers: Accelerating global vaccine production makes lifting trade barriers on raw materials for vaccine production critical.
  • The two relevant bodies, WHO and WTO, should also work together to sort out selective criteria for international movement.

Conclusion

Developed countries should refrain from discriminatory international travel policies against low-income countries and focus on increasing vaccine production to close the vaccination gap at the global level.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

EAM hands over relics of 17th century Georgian Queen St. Ketevan to Georgia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Black Sea mapping

Mains level : India-Georgia ties

After a long-standing request of Georgia, External Affairs Minister handed over the holy relics of 17th century Georgian Queen St. Ketevan nearly 16 years after they were found in Goa.

Who was St. Ketevan?

  • Queen Ketevan was a 17th century Georgian Queen.
  • From Kakheti, a kingdom in eastern Georgia, she was tortured and killed in 1624 in Shiraz during the rule of the Safavid dynasty.
  • Portuguese missionaries were said to have carried the relics to Goa in 1627.
  • In 2005, after years of research and study of medieval Portuguese records, the relics were found at the St. Augustine Church in Old Goa.

Importance of Georgia for India

  • Georgia a strategically important country situated at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
  • Relations between Georgia and India date back to ancient times.
  • The Panchatantra influenced Georgian folk legends. During the medieval period, Georgian missionaries, travelers, and traders visited India.
  • Some Georgians served in the courts of Mughal emperors, and a few rose to the rank of governor.
  • India was among the first countries to officially recognize Georgia, doing so on 26 December 1991.
  • India is a net exporter to Georgia.
  • The main commodities exported by India to Georgia are cereals, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, pharmaceuticals, electrical machinery and equipment, aluminium and aluminium articles.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Sea Bordering Country
1. Adriatic Sea Albania
2. Black Sea Croatia
3. Caspian Sea Kazakhstan
4. Mediterranean Sea Morocco
5. Red Sea Syria

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched? (CSP 2019)

(a) 1, 2 and 4 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India and EU relaunch FTA talks, sign connectivity partnership

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BTIA

Mains level : Paper 2- Talks on India-EU trade agreement resumed

Resumption of FTA

  • Prime Minister of India interacted virtually from Delhi with EU chiefs.
  • India and the European Union agreed to relaunch free trade negotiations by resuming talks that were suspended in 2013 for the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
  • The talks had run into trouble over market access issues, and tariffs by India on products like wine, dairy and automotive parts, as well as EU resistance over visas for Indian professionals.
  • In addition, Indian government’s decision to scrap all Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) in 2015 posed hurdles for new EU investments in India.

Connectivity Partnership document

  • The EU-India leaders adopted a Connectivity Partnership document.
  • The India-EU connectivity partnership committed the two sides to working together on digital, energy, transport, people to people connectivity.
  • The partnership is seen as a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and comes as the EU’s negotiations with China on their Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) have run into trouble.
  • The contract for the second tranche of $150 million from the EU for the Pune Metro rail project was also signed.

No EU support for Covid-19 vaccine waiver

  • India failed to secure the support of the European leaders for patent waivers for Covid vaccine.
  • The support of a major bloc like the EU is crucial to passing the resolution at the WTO by consensus.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-UK Relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- India-Britain relations

The article highlights the factors that make building sustainable partnership with Britain hard for India and suggests the ways to find fresh basis for bilateral relationship.

Need to tap potential for bilateral strategic cooperation

  • The long-scheduled summit between Prime Ministers of India and UK will take place with a digital conversation scheduled for Tuesday.
  • India and the UK must tap into the enormous potential for bilateral strategic cooperation in the health sector and contributions to the global war on the virus.
  • Foreign ministers of India, Japan and Australia would also join this meeting to set the stage for the “Group of Seven Plus Three” physical summit next month hosted by the British Prime Minister.

Challenges in forming a sustainable partnership with Britain

  • Few Western powers are as deeply connected to India as Britain.
  • While India’s relations with countries as different as the US and France have dramatically improved in recent years, ties with Britain have lagged.
  • One reason for this failure has been the colonial prism that has distorted mutual perceptions.
  • The bitter legacies of the Partition and Britain’s perceived tilt to Pakistan have long complicated the engagement between Delhi and London.
  • Also, the large South Asian diaspora in the UK transmits the internal and intra-regional conflicts in the subcontinent into Britain’s domestic politics.

Finding fresh basis for bilateral relationship

  • The two leaders are expected to announce a 10-year roadmap to transform the bilateral relationship that will cover a range of areas.
  • Both countries are on the rebound from their respective regional blocs.
  • Britain has walked out of the European Union and India has refused to join the China-centred Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
  • Although both will continue to trade with their regional partners, they are eager to build new global economic partnerships.
  • While remaining a security actor in Europe, Britain is tilting to the Indo-Pacific, where India is a natural ally.
  • India needs as wide a coalition as possible to restore a semblance of regional balance.
  • Britain could also contribute to the strengthening of India’s domestic defence industrial base.
  • The two sides could also expand India’s regional reach through sharing of logistical facilities.
  • Both countries are said to be exploring an agreement on “migration and mobility” to facilitate the legal movement of Indians into Britain.
  • Both sides are committed to finding common ground on climate change.

Consder the question “What are the factors that introduce friction in the sustainability of India’s bilateral relations with the Britain? Identify the areas in which both the countries can find fresh basis for the bilateral relations?”

Conclusion

If leaders of both the countries succeed in laying down mutually beneficial terms of endearment, future governments might be less tempted to undermine the partnership.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy

The Council of the European Union approved conclusions on a European Union strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Aim:

  • To reinforce its strategic focus, presence and actions in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • To contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development at the time of “rising challenges and tensions in the region.”

Rationale:

  • The current dynamics in the Indo-Pacific have given rise to:
    • Intense geopolitical competition
    • Increasing tensions on trade and supply chains
    • Challenges in technological, political and security areas
    • Issues related to Human rights
  • As per the EU, these developments threaten the stability and security of the region and beyond, directly impacting on its interests.

Strategy by European Union:

  • Increased cooperation in the Indo-Pacific
  • Commitment to uphold democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law.
  • Promote effective rules-based multilateralism
  • Support for ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations)
  • Work to mitigate economic and human effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Support open and fair environment for trade and investment
  • Tackling climate change and supporting connectivity with the EU
  • Conclude free trade agreements with Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand
  • Take steps towards the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China
  • Deepen economic relations with India
  • Develop partnerships in the areas of security and defence
  • Address maritime security, malicious cyber activities, disinformation, emerging technologies, terrorism, and organised crime
  • Extend the geographic scope of its CRIMARIO (Critical Maritime Routes) IIactivities from the Indian Ocean into South and Southeast Asia to contribute to safer sea lanes of communication with the EU.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Why the Indo-Pacific has assumed significance for Europe after the pandemic

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RCEP

Mains level : Paper 2- Asia-EU engagement

The article highlights Asia’s growing significance in the wake of the pandemic. This is underscored by Europe’s meaningful engagement with Asia which is based on an understanding of the region’s geopolitical and economic significance.

Asia’s rise

  • The pandemic has upended many certainties. But it has reinforced one major trend in global politics: The rise of Asia.
  • The region’s rise has created three Asias.
  • First, there is the familiar Asia of businessopen, dynamic, interconnected.
  • Second, an Asia of geopolitics, with ever-starker nationalisms, territorial conflicts, arms races and Sino-American rivalry.
  • Lastly, we have an Asia of global challenges.
  • These three Asias are also marked by 3 dynamics:
  • 1) Geopolitical rivalries that threaten free trade.
  • 2) The fight against the pandemic is mutating into a systemic competition between democracy and authoritarianism.
  • 3) And frenzied economic growth is fuelling climate change.

European strategy for Indo-Pacific

  • Germany together with France and the Netherlands, have commenced work on a European strategy for the Indo-Pacific.
  • The strategy seeks cooperation with all countries of the region: For open economies and free trade; for the fight against pandemics and climate change; and for an inclusive, rules-based order.
  • Such a European strategy for the Indo-Pacific must take all three Asias into account.
  • Europe is a key trading, technology and investment partner for many countries of the region.
  •  The EU recently concluded groundbreaking free trade agreements with Japan, Singapore and Vietnam that set environmental and social standards.
  • In late 2020, the countries of East and Southeast Asia signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, encompassing one-third of the global economy.
  • It is time for the EU to swiftly conclude the ongoing negotiations on trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand – and to move forward with negotiations with Indonesia and India.

Reducing dependencies

  • Following the above policies, Europe will also reduce dependency and following the principle of diversification.
  • Together with its Indo-Pacific partners, Europe can set standards for new technologies, human-centred digitisation and sustainable connectivity. 
  • In this endeavour, Europe can draw on its innovative and economic strength as well as its regulatory power.
  • At the EU-India Summit in May, the launch of a connectivity partnership with India will further connect India’s and Europe’s digital economies.

Rising tensions and rules-based Indo-Pacific

  • Meanwhile, tensions are rising in the Asia of geopolitics.
  • New cold wars or even hot conflicts in the Indo-Pacific would be an economic and political nightmare.
  • Europe must, therefore, take a firmer stand against polarisation and more strongly advocate an inclusive, rules-based Indo-Pacific.
  • The strategic partnership concluded between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last December connects us with like-minded middle powers.

Asia of geopolitical challenges

  • Containing geopolitical rivalries in Asia is also a precondition for shaping the future with the Asia of global challenges.
  •  As the biggest emitters of CO2, the US, China, India and the EU will only win the fight against climate change together.
  • The Leaders Summit on Climate that will be hosted by the US next week sets the stage for cooperation.
  • Europe and the countries of the Indo-Pacific need each other also in the fight against the virus.
  • The EU is by far the biggest supporter of the international vaccine platform COVAX, and India as a leading producer of vaccines is the most important COVAX supplier.
  • We will all benefit from this as, without the worldwide vaccination rollout, mutations will keep on setting us back in the fight against the pandemic.
  • Europe will continue to stand up for human rights and democracy in the Indo-Pacific.
  • This was demonstrated with sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations in Xinjiang — and also against Myanmar’s generals.

Conclusion

Europe is ready for a new partnership — a partnership founded on seeking dialogue with the open Asia of business, taming geopolitical rivalry in Asia together and coming up with responses to the world of tomorrow with the Asia of global challenges. This must be the objective of European policy — for and with the Indo-Pacific

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Recalibrating relations with EU

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Deepening trade ties with the EU

With India about to lose preferential access to the EU, there is a need to deepen the trade and investment ties with the region. The article deals with this issue.

Export potential to the EU

  • India has an untapped export potential of $39.9 billion in the EU and Western Europe.
  • India benefits from tariff preferences under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for several of these products.
  • In fact, India is among the major beneficiaries of the EU’s GSP, accounting for nearly 37% of India’s merchandise exports.

India losing EU-GSP benefits: Product graduadion

  • Product graduation applies when average imports of a product from a beneficiary country exceed 17.5% of EU-GSP imports of the same product from all beneficiary countries over three years.
  • There are several products where India has export potential in the EU, but these have “graduated” or are at the brink of “graduation” under EU GSP.
  • India’s exports of products such as textiles, inorganic and organic chemicals, gems and jewellery, iron, steel and their articles, base metals and automotives are already out of the ambit of EU-GSP benefits.
  •  In apparel, India’s exports to the EU were valued at $7 billion in 2019, of which nearly 94% was under EU-GSP, indicative of the impact that the graduation may have on apparel exports.
  • Bangladesh’s apparel exports would continue to receive tariff benefits in the EU under Everything but Arms Initiative.
  • Another competitor, Vietnam, concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU in 2019.

Need to deepen trade and investment ties

  • In light of the declining preferential access and the plausible erosion of competitiveness in the EU market, there is clearly a need to deepen trade and investment ties with the region.
  • Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement, which commenced in 2007, is yet to materialise due to lack of concurrence in areas like automotives and dairy and marine products.
  • Therefore, a thorough assessment of the benefits from FTA for domestic producers is warranted, with due consideration to the impact on sensitive sectors, and possibility of inclusion of safeguards such as sunset clause on concessions for some items.
  • Further, there should also be provisions for aspects such as investment and non-tariff measures (NTMs).
  • India also needs to negotiate on investment-related aspects with the EU to foster stronger value chains, especially in technology-intensive sectors in which the EU has a comparative advantage.
  • As far as NTMs are concerned, India faces as many as 414 NTMs in the EU, in a wide array of sectors. FTAs have some institutional arrangements for NTMs.

Consider the question “Forging stronger ties with the EU could pave way for the greater cooperation and stronger trade ties. Elucidate.” 

Conclusion

Post-Brexit EU finds itself in the midst of a growing need for recalibrating ties with its partner countries. Forging stronger ties with the region through a mutually beneficial agreement could help strengthen Indian manufacturing and revitalise the flailing exports.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Swiss Neutrality in World Affairs

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Swiss Neutrality

Mains level : Swiss Neutrality as a foreign policy tool

Switzerland’s traditional foreign policy of neutrality has become attractive again because of the changing political reality in the world, said its Ambassador recently.

Q.In context to foreign policy, discuss the relevance, benefits and limitations of Swiss Neutrality.(150 W)

What is Swiss Neutrality?

  • Swiss neutrality is one of the main principles of Switzerland’s foreign policy which dictates that Switzerland is not to be involved in armed or political conflicts between other states.
  • This policy is self-imposed, permanent, and armed, designed to ensure external security and promote peace.
  • Under this, Switzerland pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world.

Historic significance

  • Switzerland has the oldest policy of military neutrality in the world; it has not participated in a foreign war since its neutrality was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815.
  • The European powers (Austria, France, the UK, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Spain and Sweden) agreed at the Congress of Vienna in May 1815 that Switzerland should be neutral.
  • But final ratification was delayed until after Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated so that some coalition forces could invade France via Swiss territory.

Swiss moves for the status

  • Since World War II, Switzerland has taken a more active role in international affairs by aiding with humanitarian initiatives, but it remains fiercely neutral with regard to military affairs.
  • It has never joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the European Union, and only joined the United Nations in 2002.

Relevance today

  • Neutrality has become necessary as a foreign policy tool as the phase of power politics has returned in world affairs.
  • Now with big power politics, Switzerland’s neutrality and Switzerland as a place to meet is much more attractive again.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

The ‘Difficult Four’ Countries

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Global perception of India's image

A UK think-tank ‘Royal Institute of International Affairs’ has listed India in ‘Difficult 4’; clubs India with China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

This newscard helps analyse the Western esp. that of the EU’s perception of India and its global image under the present regime.

What is the news?

  • A report called ‘Global Britain, Global Broker’ has warned the UK government to consider India as more of a rival that a cooperative partner.
  • It accepts the fact that India is set to be the largest country in the world by population very soon and will have the third-largest economy and defence budget at some point in this decade.
  • But it cautions that gaining direct national benefit from the relationship, whether economically or diplomatically, will be difficult for the UK government.
  • The report also accepts India’s importance to the UK as being “inescapable”.

The ‘Difficult Four’

  • Clubbing India with China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as the “difficult four”, the report says the Johnson government should be more realistic about developing deeper ties with India.
  • They may be important to the UK’s commercial interests, but they will be rivals or, at best, awkward counterparts on many of its global goals, the report warns.
  • India is now classed as a country, destined to count among the UK’s “rivals” or “awkward counterparts” as it pursues its global goals.

India has had bitter (colonial) past

  • The think-tank strikes a note of caution over the two countries’ shared colonial history proving a stumbling block to the promise of a deeper relationship.
  • India has a long and consistent record of resisting being corralled into a ‘Western’ camp.
  • As a result, India is always on the list of countries with which a new UK government commits to engage.
  • But it should be obvious by now that the idea of a deeper relationship with India always promises more than it can deliver.
  • The legacy of British colonial rule consistently curdles the relationship.

Indian flaws

  • The report points to India’s “complex, fragmented domestic politics”, which make it one of the countries resistant to open trade and foreign investment.
  • It highlights concerns raised by domestic groups as well as the UN over a “crackdown on human rights activists and civil society groups” not being actively challenged by the judiciary.
  • It raises concern over India’s pursuance of extreme right-winged policies. Indian domestic politics also has entered a more ethnic-nationalist phase, the report argues.
  • Against this backdrop, the report reflects on the prospect of including India within any new Democratic 10 or D10 coalition of 10 leading democracies.

Try this question from 2019 CS Mains:

 

Q.What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism? (150W)

UK’s resentment

  • In a critique of India’s diplomatic behaviour, the report points out that despite border clashes with China, “India did not join the group of countries that criticized China at the UN in July 2019 over HR violations in Xinjiang.
  • India has also been muted in its criticism of the passage of the new national security law in Hong Kong.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Europe’s China gambit will fall short of its stated goals

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Comprehensive Agreement of Investment between China and the EU

Mains level : Paper 2- Contours of the post-pandemic world order

Thought the article is not directly related to India, the conclusion of the investment treaty between the EU and China serves as the prelude to the post-pandemic world order which surely matters for India. The article explains the implications of the agreement.

Investment agreement between EU and China

  • Recently, the EU and China announced the completion of a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between the two.
  • The CAI gives European firms enhanced access to the Chinese market, removes (or relaxes) Chinese government requirements on joint ventures and technology transfer in some sectors.
  • The European Commission has claimed that the CAI allows the EU to maintain its “policy space”, especially in “sensitive” sectors such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and public services
  • The deal also promises equal treatment with state enterprises and greater regulatory transparency in China.
  • Moreover, the Chinese government has undertaken some obligations on environmental sustainability and labour rights, notably by agreeing to make “continued and sustained efforts” to ratify the Forced Labour Convention.

Reaction to the agreement

  • The US reaction ranged from disappointment to outright hostility.
  • The incoming Biden administration would have preferred a unified front against China, by striking an economic deal with Europe first.
  • For others, it was the EU’s apparent misjudgement on China’s human rights promises.

Post-pandemic world order and role of democracies

  • The Europe-China agreement underscores a fundamental question of the post-pandemic world order: Can democracies remain true to their values while engaging in trade and investment with China?
  • To answer that, we must recognize two facts.
  • First, it is impossible to decouple the economies of the West from the Chinese economy without causing an economic catastrophe.
  • Second, there is little that Western countries can do to reshape China’s state-driven economic model or repressive human- and labour-rights regime.

What should be the approach in dealing with China

  • The West should pursue more limited, more attainable, and ultimately more defensible goals.
  • Two goals are paramount.
  • First, trade and investment rules should be such that Western firms and consumers are not directly complicit in human-rights abuses in China.
  • Second, such rules should safeguard democratic countries against Chinese practices that could undermine their domestic institutional arrangements on labour, environment, technology, and national security.

Lack of clarity over arbitration mechanism

  • The agreement contains an arbitration scheme that enables the parties to bring violation complaints against each other.
  • Arbitration scheme could serve as a means for the Chinese government to challenge specific entry barriers against Chinese firms.
  • How much this mechanism will be sensitive towards the issues such as treatment given to workers or the environmental protection is not clear.
  • Similarly, how much deference will panels show to exceptions to market access based on “national security” considerations is not clear.

Conclusion

We should not judge the CAI by whether it enables Europe to export its system and values. We should judge it by whether it allows Europe to remain true to its own.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India’s new Europolitik

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Coalition with the European middle powers

The article explains the shift in India’s foreign policy in its relations with the European middle powers against the backdrop of churn in the geopolitics.

India’s changing perception of Europe

  • Three recent developments underline India’s changing perceptions of Europe.
  • 1) India’s support for France’s membership of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
  • 2) India’s backing for a larger European role in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Delhi has welcomed the interest of Germany and the Netherlands in building a new geopolitical architecture in the Indo-Pacific.
  • 3) Security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific is also emerging as an important theme in partnership between India and the U.K.

Reasons for India’s shift

  • India is looking beyond the bipolar geopolitical competition between the US and China.
  • Delhi also wants to insure against the inevitable volatility in the complex dynamic between Washington and Beijing.
  • To cope with the uncertain political trajectory of the US, Delhi is already supplementing its American partnership with a network of multilateral groups with other middle powers, such as the India-Australia-Japan forum and the trilateral dialogue with France and Australia.

Rebuilding ties with Europe and challenges

  • Rebuilding ties with Europe needs a significant corrective to Delhi’s traditional strategic neglect of the continent.
  • The bipolar Cold War dynamic and the North-South framework developing world versus the developed prevented Delhi from taking a more nuanced view of Europe’s political agency after WWII.
  • Attempts to impart strategic momentum after the Cold War did not really succeed.
  • As the economic gap between China and India widened, so did the scale of European interest in both countries.
  • It is also true that the European ability to project military power into the Indo-Pacific is limited.
  • But in combination with Asian democracies, Europe can certainly make a difference.
  • It can mobilize massive economic resources, wield political influence, and leverage its significant soft power to shape the Indo-Pacific discourse.

An exceptional relationship with Frace

  • France has been an exception in Europe in its connection with India.
  • India’s partnership with France now has a strong regional anchor — the Indo-Pacific as it has its territories in the Western Indian Ocean and the South Pacific.
  • France and Britain have lingering disputes leftover from the era of decolonization in parts of the Western Indian Ocean.
  • India will have to contribute to the amicable resolution of those problems.

Consider the question “A strong coalition with the European middle powers should be the indispensable element of India’s foreign policy in the face of changing geopolitical circumstances. Comment.”

Conclusion

As China transforms the Eurasian landmass as well as the Indo-Pacific, it is abundantly clear that the US alone cannot redress the imbalance. A strong coalition of Asian and European middle powers must now be an indispensable element of the geopolitics of the East. Such a coalition can’t be built overnight. But India could push for a solid start in 2021.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-UK Relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : India-UK ties

India and the U.K. must not allow concerns of the moment to dominate their relationship.

Practice Question: Discuss the opportunities and the challenges in the India-UK relationships. What is the prospectus of India-UK relations after Brexit and Coronavirus pandemic?

Secretary’s Delhi visit

  • British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s Delhi visit came with a declaration of immediate and longer-term goals for the India-U.K. relationship.
  • It prepares the way for PM Johnson’s India visit, as the chief guest at Republic Day and to invite PM Modi to the U.K. to the G-7 and the Climate Change (COP26) summits next year.
  • Johnson will be the first head of government to visit India after the spread of COVID-19; this will also be his first bilateral visit anywhere after Brexit signalling the importance of ties with India.

A new page in ties

  • Upgrading the ties – Both countries up for upgrading of the 2004 India-U.K. Strategic Partnership to a “Comprehensive” Strategic Partnership.
  • This will help to envision closer military ties, cooperation in Indo-Pacific strategies, counter-terrorism and fighting climate change.
  • Hoping for FTA – Britain is on a mission to secure free trade partners after Brexit. It has wrapped up nearly 20 trade deals, including most recently with the U.S., Japan, and Vietnam and is hoping for India to sign the same.
  • Corona pandemic and cooperation for vaccine manufacturing – The highlight of India’s relations will be closer cooperation on the coronavirus vaccine.
  • India’s Serum Institute set to produce and distribute the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in India, and then as part of the COVAX project to other developing countries.

Challenges in India-UK relations

  • Stagnancy in the relations – India-UK relations are stagnant for the past five years due to Britain’s Brexit preoccupation.
  • The relationship has failed to progress in this time, despite visits by Mr Modi and former British Prime Minister Theresa May.
  • Other less important issues gained the narrative – Issues such as visas and the fate of fugitive Indian businessmen in the U.K. have been allowed to dominate the narrative.
  • The MEA had responded sharply to protests at the Indian High Commission in London over the Article 370 move in Jammu and Kashmir, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
  • Britain’s concerns about the farmers’ protests that sparked responses in New Delhi about interference in India’s internal matters.
  • Sometimes, intense interest from the British Indian diaspora makes Indian politics a factor in British politics is a reminder of how closely linked the two countries remain.
  • A new chapter in India-UK relationship would necessarily entail the K. to be more sensitive to India’s concerns, and for India to be less sensitive when Britain expresses its concerns.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Places in news: Luxembourg

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Location of Luxembourg

Mains level : Not Much

Prime Minister has pitched for strengthening ties to further ramp up economic engagement between India and Luxembourg.

Mark the location of Luxembourg. Since it is a landlocked country, there can be a question asking its bordering states.

Luxembourg

  • Luxembourg is a small European country, landlocked by Belgium, France and Germany.
  • It’s mostly rural, with dense Ardennes forest and nature parks in the north, rocky gorges of the Mullerthal region in the east and the Moselle river valley in the southeast.
  • Its capital, Luxembourg City, is famed for its fortified medieval old town perched on sheer cliffs

Why Luxembourg?

  • Luxembourg is one of the most important financial centres globally.
  • Several Indian companies have raised capital by issuing Global Depositary Receipts at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.
  • Luxembourg-based investment funds hold substantial banking and asset management market share in portfolio investments in India.
  • It is also the third-largest source of Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI) in India.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India should believe in the EU

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : European Union

Mains level : Paper 2- Commonalities and areas of cooperation with the EU

India and the EU have many things in common. And there are many areas in which both can expand the cooperation. This article explores commonalities and the areas which offer the scope for enhancing the cooperation. 

Common interests

  • Both aim to enhance strategic autonomy and their global standing.
  • Diversifying strategic value chains is also a common interest.
  • Both seek to address the issue of climate change on an urgent basis.

Economic ties with the EU

  • The EU is India’s largest trading partner accounting for €80 billion worth of trade in goods in 2019.
  • This is equal to 11.1% of total Indian trade.
  • The EU is also the biggest foreign investor, with €67.7 billion worth of investments made in 2018.
  • Which is equal to 22% of total FDI inflows.

Scope for improving the economic ties

  • The EU’s investments in China amounted to €175.3 billion (2018).
  • So, India could succeed in attracting EU investment that might be moving out of China.
  • To attract this outflowing investment, India must address the mutual trust deficit.
  • Enhanced business cooperation can help both the EU and India diversify their strategic value chains.
  • Increasing people’s mobility and connectivity is another area that can create opportunities for innovation and growth.

Talks on FTA

  • Both sides need to move further on the Free Trade Agreement.
  • A new study from the European Parliament estimates the impact of an EU-India trade agreement between €8 billion and €8.5 billion.
  • The study also mentions additional potential gains from enhanced coordination on the provision of global public goods, such as environmental standards.

Cooperation on climate change

  • Under the new industrial strategy, the Green Deal, the EU has set an ambitious target to be carbon-emission neutral by 2050.
  • If the EU and India succeed in transforming into carbon-neutral economies by 2050, we all would gain from the investment.

Strategic partnership with EU

  • The Indo-Pacific region is becoming contentious, so India should capitalise on its geopolitical leverage there.
  • Cooperation with like-minded, democratic powers can support this effort, especially towards assertive competitors like China.
  • The EU as a whole offers more to India than the strongest bilateral relations with individual EU member state.
  • New Delhi must learn how to maximise benefits from this strategic partnership.
  • The disruption caused by COVID-19 has been the occasion for the EU to prove its worth.
  • “Next-generation EU proposal” submitted by the European Commission has economic as well as geopolitical implications.
  • The proposal shows that the ties that bind the EU extend well beyond treaties and individual members’ self-interest.
  • The EU champions the rules-based international order, so the EU and India must act to promote sustainable reform of multilateral institutions starting from the WTO.

Consider the question “India-EU ties with many common interests assume significance as rule-based order is being challenged by the rise of exceptionalism. Comment.”

Conclusion

A strong partnership would help both the EU and India become global decision-makers and tackle the challenges caused by the disruption of global order collectively.

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.

Timeline of EU

Timeline of European Union
source

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
source

Structure of EU

European Union seven institutions
source

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
source

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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