UPSC CSE – SYLLABUS: GENERAL STUDIES-2– Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s
India and European Union
- While Covid-19 has disrupted societies, it has also brought greater clarity for individuals and nations.
- The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) are two political geographies that may be experiencing this and are certainly at an inflection point.
Recent developments in EU:
- Europe’s economic obsession following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis saw it withdraw from key political theatres.
- The pandemic has brought it right back to the great churning in Asia and indeed to the Indo-Pacific.
- The Indo-Pacific Strategies released by Germany and France and the India Strategy announced by EU are indications that the Old Continent is changing course.
- The UK has hinted that it is realigning its political positions. It is currently engaged in its most comprehensive integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policies since the Cold War.
- On 5G and technology choices, the UK and major EU countries are aligning positions.
- Global Britain is navigating new seas, but its ethical and strategic compass is keeping it firmly in the Atlantic Order.
- Economic differences, migration policies and the China factor all have a real basis and have impacted EU. These may well remain points of friction among member-states. The UK’s exit has also had consequences.
- Paradoxically, the events of 2020 have exposed the limits of fissiparous tendencies in EU.
EU & China:
- There is now a disturbing realisation that China is no friend, and it is not like Europe.
- The perverse, even vulgar, conduct of mask diplomacy and thereafter the Wolf Warrior doctrine has been deeply disturbing to European sensibilities.
- Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s troublesome EU sojourn indicated a new European resolve to call out China, even as Beijing dug its heels in.
Reviving Indo-EU relationship:
- Realising the Sustainable Development Goals; battling the climate crisis through green transitions; and building a digital economy must also be on the menu.
- Post-Covid-19, we must build back green and build back better.
- In the past four years, the Paris Agreement has rested on European and Indian shoulders.
- It is time for Europe and India to shape a new global green deal.
- This EU+1 initiative should be on Indian agenda as it engages with Paris and Berlin.
- In London, India must create the ground for a bold UK-India announcement at COP-26 with an emphasis on a financing a framework that can catalyse green growth.
- India co-founded the International Solar Alliance with France and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure with the UK.
- These are critical legacies to be nurtured, more so since the United States (US) will continue to go through an existential crisis, to some degree, irrespective of what happens in early-November.
- Technology is another shared frontier. Even as Europe invested in Chinese manufacturing zones, data from its banks, insurance and financial firms found safe and efficient homes in India.
- Trust was the operative word. And this same word will define partnerships in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
- Digital partnerships between India and EU and concurrently India and the UK are inevitable and desirable.
- As they assess the extremes of the American and Chinese models, on technology norms, digital regulations and data privacy, India and various shades of Europeans will find their positions more aligned.
- With the US expected to be preoccupied till the new administration settles in by early-summer 2021, New Delhi is doing well to engage with other major Western democracies that, like India, are contributors to stability in the international system.
- Coming shortly after Foreign Minister’s visit to Japan for the Quad talks and bilateral meetings, the foreign secretary’s trip to the heart of Old Europe is an important follow-up.
SOURCE:” Hindustan Times.”
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