Round Table Meeting with H.E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India, on ‘European Union – India Relations and a Way Forward’
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The European Union's (EU) Ambassador to India and Bhutan Tomasz Kozlowski participated in a high-level Roundtable meeting on the growing engagement between the EU and India. His speech covered the positive development of relations in recent years and the main areas of the EU-India Strategic Partnership. There was a lively discussion after the presentation, chaired, by VIF Director Dr Arvind Gupta.

Summary of Ambassador Kozlowski's Briefing:

In his address, Ambassador Tomasz Kozlowski provided an overview of the European Union as a unique regional integration organisation under which its Member States have decided to pool part of their competences while remaining fully sovereign states. He traced back the history of the EU underlying the launch of the European integration process in 50s as political project, implemented for many years through mainly economic instruments, which has since also developed a serious foreign and security policy capacity over the last twenty years.

Today's EU is the largest trading partner, with a common external trade policy, for more than 80 countries, the largest provider of development and humanitarian assistance, with common foreign and security policy as well as well developed crisis management capabilities and capacities.

Under the Common Security and Defence Policy, the European Union is currently undertaking 16 missions and has completed 18 using civilian and military instruments, with as of now almost six thousand personnel deployed outside of the EU. A prominent example is Operation NAVFOR, Atalanta, which significantly contributed to curbing piracy off the coast of Somalia. In recent months, the EU has further given emphasis on strengthening its security and defence capabilities, including through the so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation, defence innovation and a closer partnership with NATO.

For many decades the EU has been a staunch ally and partner of India, and developed close trade and economic relations, and a broad partnership spanning many areas of cooperation as well as people to people linkages. The Ambassador recalled the re-launch of strategic partnership at the Summit in Brussels in March 2016 and the attainment of new momentum in the relationship of the 'natural partners' during the 14th India-EU Summit held in 2017 in New Delhi.

Ambassador Kozlowski stressed that India is an important partner for the EU as it shares the same values and principles, committed to democracy, market economy, multilateralism and rules-based international order, ever more important in view of the current global environment and uncertainties. India's increasingly international profile and a more pro-active stance on, for instance, the fight against climate change, disaster relief, and assistance to partners in the region provides a useful basis for closer cooperation on issues of common concern.

Foreign policy and security cooperation is being stepped up, including on counter-terrorism, encompassing more contacts between agencies and work on curbing online radicalisation, cybersecurity, maritime security (first ever joint naval exercise was conducted last year), and regular exchanges on non-proliferation. Exchanges and consultations take place in regard to Afghanistan, Maldives, China, Russia and the Middle East among others.

India and the EU have also developed close economic relations, given that India is becoming one of the major drivers of the world growth, while Europe remains stable economic player, investment partner, source of technologies and innovations. The EU is widely recognised as a key partner for India's economic and technological modernisation. India and the EU already enjoy increasing trade and investment cooperation. While the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement has been in consultations, policy dialogue, exchanges on regulatory approaches and good practice are ongoing.

The current cooperation on energy and climate includes bio-fuels, smart grids, solar parks, offshore wind, and resource efficiency, besides a substantial number of projects under EU-India Partnerships on Water and Sustainable Urbanisation. The European Investment Bank which operates in India since 2017 is fully committed to its ongoing investment programme supporting India’s climate action initiatives; in particular for renewable energy and public transport. Important steps for closer cooperation in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT), such as the cooperation between the telecom standards bodies on both sides on future global standards for 5G, the Internet of Things (IOT), Intelligent Transport Systems, and Internet Security, are good examples in this regard. The recent advancement of EU-India cooperation in the area of transport was marked by successful visit of the Commissioner Bulc and entry-in-force of the aviation horizontal agreement, including a range of aviation issues of mutual interest.

The EU and India have also mutual interest to foster space cooperation. In March 2018, landmark Copernicus Cooperation arrangements relating to sharing of Earth observation satellite data as well as cooperation between the European Space Agency and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) were signed. Cooperation on research and innovation in a vide number of areas is also an important part of the partnership. Through the 'Horizon 2020' joint calls on water, vaccines and possibly on smart grids are being implemented. An agreement on research and development cooperation in the field of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is under negotiation. India has been also actively participating in ITER project.

The importance of people to people contacts cannot be over-emphasised, given that India is the largest beneficiary of the Erasmus+ scholarship scheme. The Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM) and cultural exchanges are also crucial programs for closer ties and a better understanding between India and the EU.

The Ambassador looked positively on at the upward trajectory of the EU-India relationship, pointing also to the currently on-going EU process of crafting a new strategy on India. He expressed the need to continue backing up the political engagement through practical action and concrete cooperation, while dealing with the EU in addition with EU member States.

Ambassador concluded that the EU and India can offer each other a lot. Working together can be a force of stability in an uncertain world. Both sides agreed at that time on a substantial, common agenda for bilateral cooperation and identified a convergent approach to global challenges, reflecting common interests and mutual expectations.

Event Date 
April 24, 2018

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