Looking at the big picture, finally | HT Editorial
Common concerns are driving the EU-India convergence. But it needs workUpdated: Jul 17, 2020 06:15 IST
India and the European Union (EU) have had a relationship based on common values — but not much else. The recent summit is the latest step in a 21st century reset. Common concerns about the United States’ (US) destructive unilateralism and China’s aggressive imperialism are forcing Brussels and New Delhi to look at the big picture. The new convergence is about working together on multilateral problems. The climate crisis tops the list but preserving international institutions and the security of the high seas and cyberspace also figure. The EU has put aside its tendency of preaching to India about human rights. Both sides have lowered ambitions regarding trade and investment negotiations. As the world order gets shakier, India and the EU have sensibly decided to worry about the big picture.
Even here, moving forward will require a lot of concerted effort. The EU struggles to take common positions on sensitive geopolitical issues. Preference for Chinese profits over principles by Germany and other governments means Europe is all over the place when it comes to Beijing. The Europeans remain suspicious and ill-informed about the philosophy of the Narendra Modi government. New Delhi is more excited about future relations with Brexit Britain than it is with Brussels. The relationship needs a core focus, one that works at many different policy levels and has a good chance of generating results. The obvious answer to this is climate and that is where the two sides must concentrate their energies.