Virtual Conference sets another pace for Indo-EU Relations

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New Delhi, November 25, 2020

As a part of ‘The Europe-India Strategy Group 2020,’ Carnegie India hosted a ‘Fireside Conversation’ between India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Portugal’s Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva on November 23, 2020.

Then Conversation covered the future of collaboration between India and the European Union (EU) in areas such as economic recovery, healthcare, technology, and the Indo-Pacific region.

It was moderated by François Godement, Senior Advisor for Asia to Institut Montaigne.

Indo-EU Summit May 2021

In his opening statement, Mr Silva announced that Portugal, under its EU Presidency, will hold an informal Summit between the Heads of the 27 European Union Member States and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2021.

“Our idea is that in May 2021, the European Council and Prime Minister Modi can represent a clear political mandate to our teams, in order to engage in negotiations that can be positive and mutually beneficial,” he said.

Emphasising the importance of the India-EU partnership in an increasingly multipolar world, Mr Jaishankar said that it can influence the creation of fairer globalisation and more effective multilateralism.

Forms of Cooperation

“Our cooperation can take many forms and unfold in multiple ways. We can make a big difference in Vaccine production and renewable energy. We can harmonise our developmental partnerships from Africa to the Pacific islands. We can influence the creation of fairer globalisation and more effective multilateralism. Our engagement and synergy can surely help create a greener, human-centric, and cooperative world,” he said.

Importance of Indo-Pacific

The discussion also focused on the growing strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region to Europe, India and Europe’s choices in the midst of rising tensions between leading global powers, and the need to reform multilateral institutions.

Mr Silva said that Europe is not a neutral party in the geopolitical conflict between the US and China.

“We think and feel that we belong to the same space as the US; what we call the ‘Transatlantic Community. However, Europe has to engage several main global players, who are not only the US and its allies but also China and its dream power apparatus,” he said.

Reforming global bodies

On the state of international institutions today, Mr Jaishankar said, “It is very clear with each passing day that the sense that the UN, as currently constituted, is out of date is growing. I think that there is a case for a reformed UN, reformed WTO, reformed WHO, and I completely agree with my Portuguese counterpart on this.

This Meeting was held in partnership with the Institut Montaigne and Fundação Oriente, and supported by Bertelsmann Stiftung, the German Federal Foreign Office, and the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

About Carnegie India

Founded in 2016, Carnegie India, based in New Delhi, is a part of a robust global network that includes over 150 scholars in Beijing, Beirut, Brussels, Moscow, and Washington.

The Center focuses primarily on three interrelated Programmes, namely, Technology and Society, Political Economy, and Security Studies.

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