EU-India tie-up is for global common good - Hindustan Times
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EU-India tie-up is for global common good

ByUgo Astuto
May 08, 2023 06:34 PM IST

We shall build on the solid foundation of people-to-people contacts that have brought together our citizens and civil society for many decades and remain the hallmark of our relationship.

As we celebrate Europe Day on May 9, we can look back with satisfaction at the great strides made by the strategic partnership between the European Union (EU) and India over the years. The EU and India are plural and diverse societies. We believe in a cooperative approach to international relations, upholding the values and principles of the United Nations (UN) charter. This is particularly important now, as we are facing growing global uncertainty, in the wake of the unprovoked and unjustified Russian aggression against Ukraine.

In an increasingly erratic world scenario, it is more important than ever that the EU and India work together, bilaterally as well as in multilateral forums, such as the G20 (HT)
In an increasingly erratic world scenario, it is more important than ever that the EU and India work together, bilaterally as well as in multilateral forums, such as the G20 (HT)

Based on our common belief in the rules-based system of international governance, the EU and India are working together to address global challenges, such as climate change or the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). India’s G20 presidency offers a great opportunity to provide leadership in these difficult times and the EU supports India’s ambitious objectives.

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We need to scale up global ambitions against climate change if we want to keep the world’s temperature increase below 1.5 degrees. We can still make it; but we need renewed focus and commitment. The international community collectively needs to accelerate transformative change. The EU has adopted the objective to become climate neutral by 2050. India’s massive investments in renewables can be a game-changer. Together, we can join forces in making our economies more energy efficient and resilient and our energy supply renewable and reliable.

The development of the digital economy is another field of cooperation, offering great opportunities, where the EU and India face similar challenges. We must ensure that the digital transition takes place in full respect with individual rights and freedoms, consistent with our open societies and democratic systems. Global challenges require coordinated responses by like-minded partners. It is in this spirit that the recently created Trade and Technology Council will focus on key issues of shared strategic importance, including trade, trusted technology and resilient supply chains. The first ministerial edition is to be held before this summer.

The EU, as a bloc, is one of India’s largest trading partners and a principal investor. Substantial Indian investment is also flowing towards Europe. Last year, we re-launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), for an Investment Protection Agreement and an Agreement on Geographical Indications. Both sides realise that an FTA would significantly contribute to unleash the full potential of our economic relations. It is against this background that the fifth round of talks will take place in Delhi next month.

Science underpins progress, be it in the fight against climate change or the digital transition. Around 70.000 Indian students are studying in the EU, while Indian and European researchers work together in innovative ventures, within the Horizon or Marie Curie Sklodowska Actions. We also share the same vision of a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific, underpinned by respect for international law. The EU is a major stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific and we are engaging with India for a stable and prosperous region.

We shall use the full panoply of instruments available, such as Global Gateway. With Global Gateway, Team Europe is mobilising up to €300 billion of investments worldwide for sustainable and high-quality projects, responding to the needs of partners and ensuring lasting benefits for local communities. Global Gateway is about smart, clean and secure investments in quality infrastructure. The EU-India Aviation Summit in Delhi last month was a new facet in this common endeavour.

Global Gateway is an example of the EU commitment to multilateralism, in the pursuit of the UN SDGs. However, today the international community is facing a major threat to its foundational principles; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an attack against the UN Charter. There can be no rules-based system if “might makes right”. The EU stands with Ukraine in the defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, this is not a time for war. In an increasingly erratic world scenario, it is more important than ever that the EU and India work together, bilaterally as well as in multilateral forums, such as the G20. In doing so, we shall build on the solid foundation of people-to-people contacts that have brought together our citizens and civil society for many decades and remain the hallmark of our relationship.

Ugo Astuto is ambassador, European UnionThe views expressed are personal

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