Develop military-to-military relations, consider deploying an EU military advisor in the EU Delegation in New Delhi and vice-versa, consider negotiation of a broader Strategic Partnership Agreement, intensify dialogue on Afghanistan and Central Asia, strengthen technical cooperation on fighting terrorism, countering radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorist financing — these are some of the key proposed actions in the European Union strategy on India, which was unveiled in Delhi on Wednesday.
Launching the strategy document, the European Union ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski said, “India is on the top of the agenda of the EU in the field of external relations… this strategy paper reflects that EU has taken India’s priorities very seriously. We are ready for a joint leap.”
For long, India-EU ties have been guided by the economic relationship, but the India strategy has come after 14 years — last such strategy was put in place in 2004. This will now be discussed in the European Parliament and the European Council.
The strategy paper, which will now be discussed in the European Parliament and the European Council, says that India occupies an important place in a complex geo-strategic space. “Situated at the centre of key Europe-Asian trade routes, and a factor of stability in a complex region, India’s diplomatic and security posture towards its neighbours and major regional powers have important consequences for the EU,” it said, as one of the reasons for EU’s strategic engagement.
The key proposed concrete actions are the following:
* The EU-India relations are currently governed by the 1994 EU-India Cooperation Agreement. To be able to match the ambitions set out in this Joint Communication and tackle the global challenges of today, the EU and India should consider the negotiation of a broader Strategic Partnership Agreement.
* Upgrade the yearly dialogue between the High Representative / Vice President of the EU and the Indian Minister for External Affairs to a regular Strategic Dialogue.
* Intensify dialogue on Afghanistan and Central Asia in the appropriate settings.
* Join forces on post-conflict institution building and reconciliation processes in third countries.
* Strengthen technical cooperation with India on fighting terrorism and countering radicalisation and violent extremism and countering terrorist financing.
* Exchange expertise on cyber security and hybrid threats.
* Conclude working arrangements to foster cooperation between Europol and Indian law enforcement institutions.
* Identify common actions with India both at policy and operational levels to enhance maritime security. Work with India and other key regional players such as South Africa to help build the capacity of maritime nations in the Indian Ocean and East Africa.