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EU-INDIA RELATIONS Gaining strategic traction?


Despite good intentions on both sides, the EU-India bilateral relationship has lacked traction until recently. In the past few years however there have been notable milestones. The launch of the EU-India Trade and Tech- nology Council (TTC) in April 2022 following Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to India as chief guest for the Raisina Dialogue is one example. More recent developments are joint na- val exercises conducted off the coast of Guinea or both partners’ official participation in the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) launched in September 2023. The EU-India relationship contains untapped potential which has been amplified post-Brexit. The EU and India must carefully position themselves vis-à-vis the antagonistic relationship between the United States and China, while redefining their partnership in relation to Washington and the developing world. The EU appears to be shifting from its traditional focus on strategic autonomy towards strategic interdependence while Prime Minister Modi has placed Aatmanirbhar Bharat (‘self-reliance’) and continued strategic autonomy at the centre of India’s policies. International relations have become increasingly transactional, yet the normative dimension cannot be neglected. Both the EU and India are having to review their interests and capabilities amidst a changing international system which presents unprecedented challenges to the existing rules-based order. The latter is currently under strain and grappling with the attempt to divide the world into two opposing blocs of ‘likeminded’ and ‘non-likeminded’ states.

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Authors: Kanti Bajpai, Professor and Wilmar Chair in Asian Studies at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; Olivier Blarel, Visiting fellow in the Europe Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Amit Garg, NIIF Chair in ESG, Professor of Public Systems Group; Rohan Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of International Relations, The London School of Economics and Political Science; Karthik Nachiappan, Fellow at National University of Singapore; Jagannath Panda, Head, Stockholm Center for South Asian & Indo-Pacific Affairs, ISDP; Marta Torres Gunfaus, IDDRI Senior Research Fellow: National Engagements Lead at DDP Initiative.

This text has originally been published on the EUISS website.

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