Interaction with EU Ambassador to India
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Vivekananda International Foundation hosted an interaction with His Excellency Mr. João Cravinho, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to India on 13 March 2014, under its ongoing series of interactions with Ambassadors based in India. The closed-door interaction was chaired by Ambassador P P Shukla, Joint Director VIF, and included veteran Indian diplomats and former chiefs of Armed Services and Intelligence agencies of the country as participants.

Ambassador Cravinho began the session with his introductory talk focusing on issues such as EU’s Common Security and Foreign Policy (CSFP), EU’s Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the situation in Ukraine, and the prospects of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India. While talking about bilateral relations between India and the EU, Ambassador Cravinho observed that things were moving in a positive direction, even if the pace was a little slow. Despite a few minor setbacks, he said that the India-EU trade volumes will multiply in the next few years. He was hopeful that the process of negotiation will regain momentum and would be concluded within a year. He underlined the fact that India is one of EU’s most important economic and strategic partners and that both the EU and India are set to reap huge benefits the stronger this partnership gets.

On Ukraine, Ambassador Cravinho expressed his concern over what he called the “violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” by the Russian military presence in the Crimean peninsula. When asked about EU’s role in Ukraine prior to the ousting of President Yanukovych, Ambassador Cravinho argued that the EU’s neighbourly relations with Ukraine cannot be equated with Russia’s military presence in the country.
Speaking on the prospects of improving relations with Iran, Ambassador Cravinho strongly believed that a deal on the nuclear programme would be successfully worked out and Iran would emerge as a responsible power in Asia in the next four to five years.

The presentation was followed by a session of Q&A where many other issues were discussed, including the matter of immigration of radicals in Europe and its impact on European societies, the collective agenda of EU and its recent successes and failures as an entity in international relations, as also the military missions of EU and its role in the realization of security and stability in its neighbourhood.

Event Date 
March 13, 2014
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