India–European Union relations
The Republic of India maintains an ongoing dialogue with the supranational Institutions of the European Union which is separate from the bilateral relations with sovereign member States of the European Union.
India, the world's most populous democracy, has strong and effective strategic partnerships with France, UK and Germany.
The foremost areas of programmed India-EU-28 cooperation are in the domains of education & cultural exchanges, joint-research in science & technologies and law-enforcement.
- 1 EU28-India institutional relationship
- 2 Trade & Investment
- 3 Cooperation achievements
- 4 Background & Context
- 4.1 History
- 4.2 Current state of affairs
- 4.3 Future Perspectives
- 4.4 India
- 4.5 Europe
- 4.5.1 Challenges to the European project
- 4.5.2 Structural economic woes
- 4.5.3 Brussels-New-Delhi relationship
- 4.5.4 Areas of opportunities for EU-India cooperation
- 4.5.5 India in Europe
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
EU28-India institutional relationship
The supranational Institutions of the European Union, in the post-Lisbon Treaty era, are an intergovernmental sui generis political and legal entity. Under international law, sovereign legitimacy resides in the national capitals of the member States of the European Union. The Institutions of the European Union derive their authority based upon sovereign rights delegated by member states to Brussels.
Trade & Investment
The Indian economy grew at more than 5% in the last quarter of 2014. IMF economic forecasts for India predicts 6.5 percent growth in the year through March 2017 compared with China’s 6.3 percent in the 12 months through December 2016.
The European Union is India's largest trading partner, accounting for around 20% of Indian trade. India was the European Unions 8th largest trading partner in 2010.
According to the Government of India, trade between India and the EU was $57.25 billion between April and October 2014 and stood at $101.5 billion for the fiscal period of 2015.
France, Germany and UK collectively represent the major part of EU-India trade. Annual trade in commercial services tripled from €5.2billion in 2002 to €17.9 billion in 2010. Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands are the other more prominent European Union countries who trade with India. Annual EU investment in India more than tripled between 2003 and 2010: going from €759million in 2003 to €3 billion in 2010 (Note: Remittances to India by the Indian diaspora world-wide was US$70 billion in 2013-14). EU-India trade grew from €28.6 billion in 2003 to €72.7 billion in 2013.
Jaguar Land Rover, the iconic British multinational car manufacturer was purchased in 2008 by the Indian conglomerate Tata Group. Several Indian-owned companies have value-creating operations and manufacturing facilities within the European Union : BeNeLux (Crompton Greaves, Binani Industries, Tata Consultancy Services, Jet Airways, Dishman Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals), Poland (Videocon & Zensar Technologies), Czech Republic (Infosys), United Kingdom (Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Tata Motors), Sweden (Tech Mahindra), Germany (Biocon), Italy (Mahindra & Mahindra), Romania (Wipro).
The PMO of Narendra Modi initiated an overhaul at the MEA in order to transform Indian diplomacy. Officers posted to Indian Missions overseas were ordered to act as force multipliers for the Indian economy by focusing on issues like identifying of market opportunities, foreign trade promotion & facilitation for Indian companies, overseas acquisition of energy supplies, securing raw-materials for domestic manufacturing industries and safeguarding multi-modal air-sea-land trading routes.
Bulk of global maritime trade passes through two sea lines of communication choke-points which are close to India : Six Degree Channel adjacent to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands dominates the entrance to the Strait of Malacca and Nine Degree Channel located between Lakshadweep Islands and the Indian mainland sees the passage of nearly all merchant shipping between Europe, the Middle-East and Western Asia with South-East Asia and the Far-East.
In 2007, the European Commission and India initiated discussions on an India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) called the EU-India Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA). As of March 2015, negotiations remained stalled after failing to resolve differences related to matters such as the level of FDI & market access, domestic-sourcing obligations in multi-brand retail, manufacture of generic medecines, European Union import restrictions, greenhouse gas emissions, civil nuclear energy generation legislation, EU farming subsidies, replacement of traditional cash-crops with sterile genetically-engineered and patented variants, regulation & safeguards for the financial and insurance sectors, cooperation on tax evasion & money laundering, overseas financing and monitoring of NGOs in India, work visa restrictions, technology transfer restrictions, cooperation on embargoes (Russia & Iran), etc.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is contributing towards augmenting ESA Galileo satellite navigation system and GPS service in northern Europe by sharing data from the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. ISRO Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has launched Miniaturized satellites of several European universities and opened payload capacity on Indian CubeSats to European scientific experiments. India has relied on Arianespace for the launch of I-3K-class satellites.
Physicists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) have participated in experiments at CERN since the 1970s. Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) provided superconducting dipole and quadrupole magnets for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN Meyrin site. The world’s largest magnet, weighing about 50,000 tons, is being designed at BARC and will be part of the CERN Iron Calorimetric (ICAL) detector for trapping atmospheric neutrinos produced by cosmic rays in Earth’s atmosphere.
India is participating in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project by providing one-tenth of the components for gigantesque nuclear facility at Cadarache in France. ITER-India, a specially empowered group within the Institute for Plasma Research is overseeing the in-kind commitments from India to ITER.
Erasmus Mundus Action 2 project of the European Commission organized a partnership between prominent universities in Europe and India.
The inaugural EURAXESS Science slam in India was organized in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune on 29 September 2013. The second edition was in partnership with Tata Institute of Fundalental Research (TIFR), Mumbai on 1st Novermeber 2014.
Computer-aided taxonomic identification system of mangrove species of South-East India and Sri Lanka at French Institute of Pondicherry through the ASI@IT&C programme of the European Commission.
The Asia Urbs programme, an initiative of the European Commission, has actively assisted INTACH in heritage conservation activities in Pondicherry.
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has a long history of assistance as a donor of relief supplies, project planning & financing and speciality skill-sets.
Background & Context
India was one of the first countries to develop relations with supranational Institutions of the European Union. In 1963, initiated a process of diplomatic dialogue with the European Economic Community (EEC). The Joint Political Statement of 1993 and the 1994 Co-operation Agreement were the foundational agreements for the bilateral partnership. In 2004, India and European Union initiated a “Strategic Dialogue”. A Joint Action Plan was agreed upon in 2005 and updated in 2008. India-EU Joint Statements was published in 2009 and 2012 following the India-European Union Summits.
India and the European Commission initiated negotiations on a Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) in 2007. Seven rounds of negotiations have been completed without reaching a Free Trade Agreement.
Current state of affairs
- Commerce and Industry: Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: "I have assured the EU ambassador and ambassadors of individual EU countries that we are ready to talk with the European community. They have been our traditional trading partners,"
- Civil Aviation: Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju says trade and commerce are the major relations between India and Germany in the globalised world: "Trade and commerce are the new parameters through which relations between two countries are now judged. India and Germany share a strong trade and commercial link,"
- PMO: Indian PM reportedly cancelled plans to meet the new leadership of the Institutions of the European Union in Brussels. Indian media quoted Cesare Onestini, the Chargé d'Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to India saying: "No date has been formally proposed to the Indian side.".
- PMO: Indian Prime-Minister Narendra Modi visited Paris on 10–11 April 2015 for strategic bilateral discussions with French President François Hollande  and thereafter travelled to Berlin for trade & investment discussions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Narendra Modi jointly opened Hannover trade fair Hannover Messe 2015 on 12 April 2015 along with Angela Merkel.
- BTIA: Indian ambassador to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg Manjeev Singh Puri commented on EU-India FTA negotiations saying :“The Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) has to be a win-win for both sides. Europe has development on their side. We have demography and so it has to be a two-way process,” (...) “The ball is in their court. We have been told that the EU team is busy with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US.”
- EUROPARL: European Parliament resolution on alleged human rights violations by India on the issue of European Union citizens detained in India on maritime weapons-related cases (reference made to the Italian Marines shooting incident which caused the deaths of two Indian fishermen in India's Contiguous Zone and the impounding of an unauthorised floating-armoury MV Seaman Guard Ohio within Indian territorial waters).
- IRELAND@INDIA: Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly, says that Ireland is keen for greater investment in India's education and healthcare sectors. "Investment in Ireland by India is quite sizeable with a substantial number of Irish people employed by Indian companies, which is true the other way round as well. I believe we can grow this. It could be far stronger than what it is and it's strange in a way that it hasn't been stronger considering our ties from the days of our national struggles for independence,"
- GERMANY@INDIA: German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner opines that India will be at the global economic high table in 2015 and said: "Take my words. India will stun the world, (...) India will be one of the top four powers of the 21st century."
- EUROPARL: European Parliament's Chair for the delegation on relations with India, Geoffrey Van Orden, who is currently leading a panel of MEPs to New Delhi said: "This (Italian Marines issue) should not be a matter which affects relationship between the EU and India. This (the EU-India relationship) is something far larger and wider platform to unite. That is why we have expressed disappointment that the summit has been postponed,". Van Orden added: “We attach importance to imprisonment of citizens of our member states. (...) We do respect the Indian legal process, but think the case has taken too long and would like to see it expedited. Even so, the European parliament would be very concerned if it had any evidence that the EU-India summit delay had anything to do with the case of the marines.” Vice Chair, Nina Gill cautioned: “I think it would be very regrettable if that (Italian Marines) issue played any part in it,”.
- GERMANY@INDIA: German ambassador in India forced into damage limitation to Germany-India relations after the disclosure of a growing Europe-wide movement to boycott Indian students is revealed through the Annette Beck-Sickinger internship row at University of Leipzig.
- EUROPA@INDIA: Record air-pollution levels in New Delhi obliges the European Union to take precautionary measures and order its diplomats to install air purifiers in their offices and homes.
- USA: US President Barack Obama announces that the process to obtain L-1B work visas for corporate executives will be made easier : "this could benefit hundreds of thousands of non-immigrant workers and their employers, that in turn, will benefit our entire economy and spur additional investment,"
- China: Chinese State Councillor and Special Representative on India-China boundary talks, Yang Jiechi, concludes his visit to India after meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India and China agree to ensure peace and tranquility on the border as a pre-requisite for improvements in bilateral relations.
- SCO: Russia to ensure that India's full membership to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is expedited at 2015 summit.
- NDB & CRA: Indian Cabinet ratifies participation in the New Development Bank (NDB) and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). NDB and CRA are expected to compete with the World Bank and IMF to provide financing for infrastructure development projects in developing countries. The five BRICS have a combined population of 3 billion and GDP of $16 trillion which equate to 41% of global population and 20% of the world’s GDP.
- Russia: India-Russia to increase high-level interactions with visits to Russia by President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Apart from traditional consultations on BRICS and SCO matters, the other topics which have been raised in recent times include logistical infrastructure for trade through the North–South Transport Corridor and trade facilitation through Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
- East Africa: New Delhi launches the Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) project to boost trade and investment between Indian and East African businesses in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda through growth in key sectors under the Duty Free Quota Free programme of the WTO for Least Developed Countries (LDC).
- Tax Avoidance: The Income Tax Department of Government of India has made a whistle-blower reward offer to former HSBC employee Herve Falciani to obtain lists of overseas accounts of Indian assessees in a bid to track black money and crackdown on tax avoidance.
- IMF: Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), speaking in New Delhi says: “Today, the elements are all aligned to make India a global powerhouse. This is India’s moment. (...) In this cloudy global horizon, India is a bright spot.” According to the IMF, India’s GDP is expected to grow 7.2% in 2014-2015 and 7.5% in 2015-16. IMF predicts that India will surpass the combined GDPs of Japan & Germany by 2019.
- OECD: Indian GDP forecast for 2015 increased to 7.7%. China GDP forecast set at 7.0% in 2015. India, according to the OECD, is expected to overtake China as the fastest-growing major economy in 2015-16.
- AIIB: EU three countries (France, United Kingdom & Germany) have joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) of which India is a founding member. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report says that China could direct part of its large foreign reserves ($3.8tn) on real commercial projects instead of recycling US dollars via US treasuries.
- Delhi Elections: The Delhi Legislative Assembly election saw the surprise reversal of political fortunes for the BJP. Key to the electoral rout were the rejection of non-consensual reorganization of state-level political hierarchy and of Kiran Bedi by the local cadres who either abstained or transferred their votes to AAP. The election has been viewed by political observers as proof of rising expectations at the grass-root level of India's urban electorate which in turn lays the foundation for a win at the electoral ballot box. Indian National Congress failed to win a single seat.
On 23 February 2015, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs published a paper  summarizing the current status of engagement with the European Union, listing India's national priorities, stating its core interests and outlining the direction and contours for the future EU-India relationship:
- Safeguarding India’s territorial integrity, its economic & trade interests, nurturing its civilisational heritage and enhancing its strategic space;
- Creating conditions in our immediate neighbourhood so as to facilitate channelizing a large part of our resources to health, education, environment and other vital social areas;
- Developing our international political relationships to extend our interests in ever widening concentric circles, thus enabling the full harnessing of our political, economic and technical resources.
Statistical SWOT data useful to understanding India.
Total population: 1.25 billion (Youth population aged less than 15 years is 29.1%)
India is a noisy democracy. The ever growing availability of internet access, participative social-media journalism, a myriad of radio & television stations and massive print media has led to a culture where political debate is an integral part of Indian society. Indians, while conscious of their colonial past as subjects of the Mughal Empire and European powers thereafter, are rapidly discarding contemporary ideas about India's place in the world.
The shaping of Indian development along traditional societal values was prompted by the persistence of economic turmoil in Western countries which laid bare intellectual fault-lines of uncontrolled capitalism and the destructive nature of unrestricted consumerism.
India has over 30 strategic relationships and include the European Union, ASEAN, Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, France, United Kingdom, Germany, USA, Iran, Israel, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, Mauritius, Seychelles, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Indonesia and Australia.
In November 2011, The Foundation for National Security Research in New Delhi published India’s Strategic Partners: A Comparative Assessment and ranked India’s top strategic partners with a score out of 90 points : Russia (62) comes out on top, followed by the United States of America (58), France (51), UK (41), Germany (37), and Japan (34).
India is not part of any military alliance. In 2012, the Attorney-General of India informed the Supreme Court that the Government, following a well-settled principle of State policy, steadfastly refuses to enter into any SOFA-like military treaty or alliance with other countries.
Substantial Indian diaspora in Nepal (14.7% of Nepalis), Myanmar, Malaysia (8.7% of Malaysians), Fiji, Mauritius (68.3% of local population are of Indian origin), United Arab Emirates (30% of the UAE population), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain (19% of Bahrainis) and Oman (17.5% of Omani population) gives India strategic leverage in the Indian Ocean region. Government of India has intervened overseas to assist Indian diaspora and citizens of neighbouring countries at times of humanitarian crisis and civil wars (Operation Safe Homecoming in Libya, Operation Sukoon in Lebanon, Iraq and Kuwait).
Regional geopolitics, energy security considerations, United Nations consent for sanctions and a divergence of perspectives (enlargement of European Union & NATO) have conditioned Indian participation on the sanctions regime against two of India's foremost strategic partners: Russia and Iran.
Bilateral ties with European sovereign nation-States
The EU three, is the troika of countries who wield the most influence within the European Union: France, UK & Germany.
- FRANCE: India's first ever strategic partnership was signed in 1998 with France. The strategic partnership has profited from sustained political investments made at the senior-most levels of decision making. Science & technology cooperation, deep-rooted cultural ties, and a historically francophile literary & fine-arts community in India has provided solid foundations for the strategic relationship. Indian business executives perceive French language as a significant business-facilitating factor in many strategic markets located in Africa and Southeast Asia. The global reach and complete autonomy of the compact French Force de dissuasion resonates well within Indian strategic circles. Voting patterns of France & Russia in the UN Security Council (UNSC) on matters of core interest to India has endeared both countries as all-weather friends of India. Huge Franco-Indian diaspora on Réunion and the island's location in the Indian Ocean has positioned France in an advantageous situation to leverage the Neighbourhood first policy and Indian Ocean outreach priorities which were announced by the government of Narendra Modi. France is a P5 veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC).
- UNITED KINGDOM: India-UK strategic relationship is hugely driven by commerce & trade, shared history and the Indian diaspora in the UK. The 1.3 million British Indian diaspora, representing 1.8% of the UK population, ensures representation of Indian interests in UK politics. Continuity in India-UK relations is compelled by business imperatives and nostalgia of a bygone era where the sun never sets. India now has more people who speak or understand English language than any other country in the world. The legacy and dynamics of a colonial past, the British Raj, acts like a double-edged sword serving both as an asset and an inconvenient reminder in bilateral relations. The strategic subservience of the UK to the USA via the UK-US 'special relationship' are impediments to the further deepening of the normally friendly relationship. British presence in the Indian Ocean suffers from the combined effect of diminished blue-water capabilities of the Royal Navy and contested sovereignty over British territories in the Indian Ocean. The Chagos Archipelago sovereignty dispute with Mauritius, allegations of human rights violations in the forced eviction of Chagossians from British Indian Ocean Territory by the United Kingdom, and allegations of US Government Black Sites on Diego Garcia) render the islands unsuitable as a commercial launch-pad into Indian Ocean trade. United Kingdom is a P5 veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC).
- GERMANY: Indo-German ties are transactional. The strategic relationship with Germany suffers from sustained anti-Asian sentiment, institutionalized discrimination against minority groups, and xenophobic incidents against Indians in Germany. The 2007 Mügeln mob attack on Indians and the 2015 Leipzig University internship controversy has clouded the predominantly commercial-oriented relationship between the two countries. The India-Germany strategic relationship is limited by the absence of a meaningful defense relationship and insignificance of German geopolitical influence in Asian affairs. Germany has no strategic footprint in Asia. Euroscepticism regarding the migration of national sovereignty to Institutions of the European Union in Brussels, where Germany increasingly controls the corridors of power, and the seemingly endless hardships caused by tough German-backed austerity measures has led to large public-protests against German 'diktat'. Germany's bid for a seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council faces several daunting obstacles: unforgotten memories from Germany's Nazi-era, Europe-wide unease over the resurgence of far-right movements in Germany (PEGIDA), frosty relationship with Russia, and defiant counter-proposals from the European members of the Coffee Club on concerns of European balance of power.
EU-India Strategic Dialogue
Contentious trade negotiations between the European Commission and New Delhi, repetitive haranguing on Human Rights issues by the European Parliament, the inability of the European Union to be a credible global security provider or broker, and the impotence of the Institutions of the European Union in shaping geopolitical outcomes are oft cited reasons which have prevented the Strategic Dialogue from maturing to its full potential as a Strategic relationship.
Indian dialogue with Institutions of the European Union is conditioned through the lenses of bilateral strategic relationships with E3 countries, state of France–Germany relations, the overall European balance of power, and specific trade opportunities with sovereign member States of the European Union. Indian Prime-Minister Narendra Modi will travel on official visits to France and Germany in April 2015 for strategic bilateral discussions with French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Earlier plans to meet the new leadership of the Institutions of the European Union in Brussels were cancelled.
Asian pivot to Asia
India views the ongoing global power shift  from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean as an opportunity to lift billions of persons out of extreme poverty and a March to Modernity. Investors and companies have been encouraged to tap the aspirations of the 1.2 billion strong Indian market for goods & services and profit from Indian Ocean trade through the Make in India initiative launched by the Government of India. The challenge facing India is to successfully leverage the country's youth dividend towards achieving the Indian Century  and to avoid hubris that India's economic growth is inevitable.
India has staked a claim to playing a central role in the Asian Century  by embarking upon a programme to modernise and diversify assets of the Strategic Forces Command, raise the profile of the Andamans and Nicobar Command (ANC), and renew civilizational ties with regional countries. India has prioritized the strengthening of strategic partnerships - with Russia, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore & Iran - in order to offset and forestall an irrecoverable shift in strategic balance of power in Asia emanating from a resurgent China seeking to advance its One Belt, One Road initiative. Agreements to install ocean surveillance capabilities in Madagascar, Fiji, Seychelles (Assumption Island), Mauritius (Agaléga) & Maldives seeks to shelter India's strategic interests and diaspora. India's national security planners have sought to consolidate India's presence in countries which are key to China's One Road, One Belt with special focus on Oman, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
The primacy of Western-led post-World War II supranational institutions and Bretton Woods system in shaping the outcomes of Asian affairs is no longer a given. The BRICS are committed to building a multipolar world order and have agreed to coordination on core interests of individual members. Western sanctions against Russia prompted China to conclude a $400 billion energy accord, effectively neutralizing efforts to drain Russian finances. BRICS are wooing investors with the allure of best potential for economic growth. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), North–South Transport Corridor, Asian Highway Network, New Eurasian Land Bridge and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has received increased attention at Track-2 initiatives of the RIC (Russia, India & China) countries.
China-India driven economic growth, fresh opportunities to develop new geographical zones due to improved Sino-Indian relations, observed collateral consequences on local populations & economies caused by recent US-led military interventions in Iraq & Afghanistan, conspicuous absence of the US President at the APEC Indonesia 2013 summit due to the United States federal government shutdown of 2013, budgetary constraints of the US military, mounting regional anti-access area denial (A2/AD) capabilities to counter maritime power projection, limitations in the US air-sea battle doctrine, risks of conflict escalation, historic intra-regional rivalries, and the unconvincing US pivot to Asia dissolved the appetite amongst Asian countries to support a US-led China containment policy. US economic, political and military dominance is in relative decline compared to emerging powers. American capacity to shape global outcomes (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine) has been ineffectual. Re-balancing by regional powers has allowed several Asian microstates and LDCs to extract significant economic advantages and concessions while staying on the sidelines of regional power-play. Asian countries increasingly view the US primarily as a market for manufactured goods and as a highly capable security infrastructure provider.
The 2015-2016 Indian budget foresees co-development of manufacturing hubs in Southeast Asian countries. In March 2015, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj announced that India's 2015 target for trade with ASEAN is $100 billion and both sides are aiming to double it to $200 billion by 2022. India has accelerated initiatives to resolve insurgency in Northeast India through economic development.
The improvement and optimization of inter-Asian trade through future mega infrastructure projects, like the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor and Thai Kra Isthmus Canal, are increasing seen as viable and vital to the continuation of economic integration of regional markets. In May 2014, India announced prioritization of Asian Highway Network regional cross-border connectivity programmes like the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project with Myanmar and the Trilateral India-Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Highway to Thailand.
Inadequate representation in global security and governance architectures has led India to complement traditional international forums such as the United Nations Security Council, World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) with special interest groupings such as BRIC/BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), East Asia Summit (EAS), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Indian-Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation (BCIM) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
India aspires to an incontournable role in the Asian pivot to Asia. Between 2004 and 2014 Western think-tanks, especially in the US and UK, failed to pick-up on tell-tale signs of impending transformations to the Indian political scene : swings in electoral voting patterns in rural areas (60% of India's 1.2billion population live outside urban population centers), large-scale nationwide citizen-led protests around specific societal agendas (anti-corruption, right to information), and rapid changes in priorities of the growing middle-class electorate. The association of improvements in basic education, vibrant & unrestricted mass media journalism, penchant for political debate in Indian society, and the huge increase in Indians working and studying abroad has changed how Indians perceive themselves in the global arena in general and Asia in particular. Academics have raised concerns about the relaxed institutional attitude of the West to rapid metamorphosis in Asia. In 2010, John Doggett of McCombs School of Business, University of Texas issued a wake-up call: China and India are beating us at our own game. Highlighting the ”inability to keep pace with the transformations” in Asia by Western countries, Michael Kugelman - South and Southeast Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center - advocated a change in mind-set and the necessity for Western countries to make their presence felt in India. Explaining the need for a review of available expertise on India centric matters, Jakob De Roover of University of Ghent in Belgium opined: India and the West could together look for solutions to the problems that we share. Instead, Western commentators reproduce old colonial stories about India as an immoral culture. This gives them a twisted relationship to the Indian people. On the one hand, they keep turning towards the same class of Indian journalists, activists, and intellectuals for ‘local knowledge’. But these native informants merely talk the talk of the West to the West.
The appointment in January 2015 of former Indian Ambassador to the US, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, as Foreign Secretary  seeks to reassure Western countries about Indian strategic intentions in Asia. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is the father of Dhruva Jaishankar - a German Marshall Fund (GMF) Transtlantic Fellow in Washington.
2014 Indian General Elections
The 2014 Indian General Elections, a monstrous affair with 815 million registered voters; 8230 candidates; 543 electoral constituencies; 11 million election personnel, saw the political emergence of the upwardly mobile 20-something generation (close to half of the 1.25 billion Indian population is aged under 25-years), record numbers of first-time voters, greater participation by women, extensive use of Social media, the fading importance of caste-politics and erosion of hereditary vote-banks.
Whilst sustainable economic growth and fight against corruption were the main topics of concern to the Indian electorate, other concerns which influenced voters were cross-border insurgencies, freedom & rights of minorities and media, access to basic health-care & medicines, education infrastructure & skills development, food security, land-use & ownership, environment management & pollution control, fishing rights & maritime security, fresh-water management, availability and price of fuel & energy security and maritime security. The elections transformed the Indian political landscape by ushering in a Government whose electoral manifesto promised a corruption-free growth-centric economic revival.
India Against Corruption protests led by Anna Hazare in 2011 and 2012, prompted the BJP and AAP to adopt good governance as the basis for their election campaign and prepared the platform for investigations into allegations of corruption, hoarding of black money and tax avoidance by multinational corporations or high-net-worth individuals (HNWI).
Long-term economic and labor policy towards sustaining the self-employed livelihoods of millions of small land-owning/-holding cash crop farmers and small family-run convenience stores against unequal competition and financial subservience to business conglomerates in the FMCG, multi-brand retail and agrochemical sector became a major focus area during the election campaign. Political parties have increasingly become sensitive to civil uprisings in rural electoral constituencies where State and Central government policies have failed to tackle wide-spread bureaucratic corruption, stem farmers' suicides and lower debt bondage.
Indian public opinion of the United States of America nose-dived in the aftermath of the Wikileaks Cablegate disclosures which exposed the depth of US access and links to senior Indian bureaucrats and politicians. The 2013 Edward Snowden whistle-blower campaign laid-bare the extent of US government surveillance assets and capabilities targeting India.
Italian-born Sonia Maino-Gandhi the matriarch of the Nehru–Gandhi family, a polarizing figure-head and the de facto head of the UPA coalition Governments of Manmohan Singh till 2014, is facing a leadership succession crisis within the Indian National Congress (INC) party. Regional and State-level allies of the INC who were UPA coalition partners, sensing the mood of the people, have disassociated themselves from Rahul Gandhi. Entrance into politics by Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra is fraught with uncertainty due to ongoing investigations into business dealings brokered by her husband Robert Vadra. The INC, after dominating Indian politics for most of the post-Indian independence period, is on the verge of implosion. The political elimination of dynastic heirs from prominent political families who have dominated Indian politics for decades (Palaniappan Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, Oscar Fernandes, Sachin Pilot) has resulted in the advent of a new breed of Indian politicians who feel no obligation to stick to traditional approaches and constraints in domestic and foreign relations. Shashi Tharoor is weighed down by an ongoing investigations into the unnatural death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
BJP-led NDA government
The BJP-led NDA coalition government has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) but is weak in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament). From the time of assuming the leadership of India, Narendra Modi has managed to keep the radical Hindutva fringe of the BJP party under control and forestall any damage to his legacy by as Prime-Minister of India caused due to religious or minority related strife.
Modi set into motion a process to reform Indian bureaucracy and rebalance foreign relations depending upon India's national interests and 21st century realities. The recalibration of relations is based upon emerging opportunities for cooperation in a multi-polar world where India has better representation  and also in the ability of individual countries to participate in the Post-2015 Development Agenda through delivering economic growth in India.
Narendra Modi, known for thinking out of the box on foreign policy issues, had cultivated relations with the overseas Indian diaspora and engaged the leadership of China when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014. A Neighbourhood first policy which included a significant rapprochement with China was announced during the Swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi on 26 May 2014. In August 2014, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj unveiled the Act East policy as the continuum to the Look East policy.
Presenting the Union Budget of India for 2014–2015, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the government would pass legislation to crack banking secrecy in foreign tax havens and verify discordances in the lifestyle of government officials against their known and declared sources of income. Emphasis was laid on the creation of value-addition and employment opportunities at the level of Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in India.
Europe in India
Iconic brands from companies headquartered in the European Union and which enjoy universal recognition in India include Airbus, Dassault, Bic, Michelin, Saint-Gobain, Sodexo, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, L'Oréal, Decathlon, Montblanc, Renault, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Bosch, Marks & Spencer, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Nokia.
Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune have a steadily growing base of European expatriates who have created niche high-value-addition Small and medium-sized enterprises in engineering, biotechnology and ICT sectors as joint ventures with Indian partners. Some European actors have focussed their acting careers on Bollywood movies and by modelling in advertisements for the Indian market. Examples of the more prominent European actess-models in Bollywood are Amy Jackson, Elli Avram, Suzanne Bernert, Claudia Ciesla, Kalki Koechlin, Hazel Crowney, Alice Patten.
Challenges to the European project
The European project is in a state of flux with ever increasing risks of political Balkanization. Economic decline has led to growing Euroscepticism, the rise of Xenophobia, and electoral challenges to the devolution of power from sovereign Member states of the European Union to Institutions of the European Union. Greek & Cypriot governments openly court Russia in defiance of Brussels.
Future of the European Union is increasingly reliant on the willingness of the Franco-German leadership couple to underwrite the political costs of radical reform of the Institutions of the European Union and thereby steer Europe towards economic growth.
Management of post Soviet-era security tensions in bordering States (Ukraine, Georgia and Balkan States) has exposed deep-rooted structural weaknesses of European Union institutions. European Union response on matters ranging from exodus of refugees from Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, participation in NATO-led interventions, action against non-State entities (Islamic State & Al-Qaeda), etc. suffers from differing priorities of 28 European Union member States. Decision taking by Brussels-based European stake-holders is cumbersome and severely limited due to intra-EU politics and the obsession with Byzantine Community method consensus-based decision making procedures. Public disenchantment with the political outcomes of recent military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya has emptied political support for accrued European Union involvement in the Syrian and Ukrainian crisis. Further strengthening of European Union sanctions regime against Russia faces internal dissent from several EU member States (Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Finland).
In November 2014, the European Union leadership (Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Federica Mogherini ) announced a last-chance effort to save the European Union from disintegration: A new START for EUROPE.
Institutional reform of the European Union, European sovereign debt crisis management, uncertainties linked to the future of UK membership within the European Union, questions regarding the long-term viability of the EURO currency, an increasing resistance to Schengen Agreement related migratory movements within EU, growing discontent with German-led austerity measures, rise of anti-EU political movements in key member-States with large populations (UK, France, Spain & Italy), negative public perception with the Brussels Elite  and virulent exasperation on golden parachutes (Herman Van Rompuy, Tony Blair, Catherine Ashton) are among the more pressing issues for the current European Union leadership.
Structural economic woes
Several EU member-states are in economic decline in both relative and absolute terms. Persistence of low economic growth and increased cost of living have affected the level of disposable incomes and domestic debt-to-savings ratios. Globalization has brought increased competition in both internal and export markets for companies based within the European Union. De-localization of manufacturing infrastructure by multinational corporations (MNCs) to low-cost countries has led to de-industrialisation. The reduction of human intervention through automation of production and logistics processes has reduced employment opportunities. Differing taxation regimes within the European Union have led to aggressive tax optimization and avoidance by Conglomerates and small and medium-sized enterprises. Unbalanced demographics has resulted in extension of the retirement age and accelerated rural depopulation. Increasing skill-erosion of the employable workforce due to technology evolutions is impacting all segments of value-addition. Constraints linked to continuous skills-development and latencies in transforming legacy processes, technologies and infrastructure have had a direct impact on employment and market opportunities.
Ideologically principled statements from the Institutions of the European Union and electorally motivated European Parliament resolutions on inadequacies in minority rights & religious freedom in India, allegations of human-rights violations and differing views on bilateral trade & market access disputes, have collectively led to a frosty relationship between Brussels and New Delhi.
The import ban of fruits and vegetables from India decided by the European Commission in 2014  and the European Parliament resolution in 2015 on alleged human rights violations by India are examples of recent actions which were unhelpful impediments to the improvement of European Union-India relations. An Indian Intelligence Bureau report  published in 2014 pointed to money-laundering in Europe by terrorist groups and the involvement of European funded NGOs in instigating activism on issues which are of core developmental interest to India.
In Asia, European diplomats are perceived as pretentious and patronizing. European interlocutors are said to appear stuck in the past, oblivious to 21st century Asian geopolitical realities and seemingly ill-trained to understanding Asia. European officials are known to persist with clichéd narratives and complaints that India is under-resourced. Both sides stand accused of arrogance.
The qualitative effectiveness of elaborately crafted EU-India Joint Action Plans was bluntly assessed by Canadian diplomat David Malone as : "these measures lead mainly to dialogue, commitments to further dialogue, and exploratory committees and working groups, rather than to significant policy measures or economic breakthroughs." 
Boycott of Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat between 2001 and till the Bharatiya Janata Party victory in the 2014 Indian General Elections following which he was appointed as the Prime-Minister of India in 2014.
In the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots, Western diplomats in India held Narendra Modi complicit for administrative inaction. European diplomats as well as visiting European Union politicians and officials refused to meet Narendra Modi from 2003 till the 2012 announcement by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that it could find no “prosecutable evidence” against Modi. The Indian Supreme Court cleared Narendra Modi of all responsibility for the riots.
During the 10-year long boycott of Narendra Modi by the European Union and USA, the Chief Minister built-up foreign investment and trade relations China and Japan and South Korea. Between 2001 and 2014, Gujarat forged ahead on all economic indicators with double-digit industrial growth and saw Narendra Modi re-elected 4 times as Chief Minister of Gujarat . One of the world’s leading news magazines TIME, in its 26 March 2012 edition, had Narendra Modi on its cover page with a story titled "Modi Means Business".
Spillovers from national agendas onto EU-India dialogue
ITALY: Strained relations with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, who was the Italian foreign minister prior to becoming the European foreign policy chief and head of the European External Affairs Service (EEAS), are affecting EU-India ties. Italy had threatened to leverage its influence within the Institutions of the European Union to impact relations with India over the ongoing legal wranglings regarding the case of two Italian Navy Marines who India holds responsible for shootings which lead to the deaths of two Indian fishermen. Federica Mogherini told the European Parliament in January 2015 that "it's good for everyone to be fully aware of how much of an impact the unresolved dispute of the two Italian Navy officials can have on relations between the EU and India. It is putting them to the test". Italian MEPs led debates in the European Parliament and obtained a resolution condemning India for alleged human rights violations of the two Italian Navy marines. The legal squibblings over the fate of the two Italian marines adds to an earlier corruption investigation in Italy and India revealed that Finmeccanica had made illegal payments in the procurement of a fleet of 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters by the Indian Air Force. The European External Affairs Service (EEAS) decided not respond to repeated Indian queries on dates for the Indian Prime-Minister to visit Brussels. Cesare Onestini, the Political Chargé d'Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to India said: "No date has been formally proposed to the Indian side." 
ESTONIA: Estonian MEPs offered support to Italy on the case of the Italian Navy Marines as a mark of European solidarity and also to raise awareness about 14 Estonian citizens who are yet to be fully cleared of maritime trespassing, illegal floating armory, and weapons related charges. In October 2013, the Indian Coast Guard detained MV Seaman Guard Ohio, a privately-owned maritime security vessel onboard which several former Estonian (and British) military personnel were employed as privately armed marine guards by AdvanFort.
Areas of opportunities for EU-India cooperation
European multinational companies are global technology leaders in several niche high-value-creation domains within industry verticals like aviation & aerospace, civil nuclear power, rail transportation, military hardware, life-sciences & medicare, leisure & tourism, textiles & apparels, etc.
Several European universities have vibrant student-exchange and research partnerships with Indian educational institutions. European Commission support for joint research and heritage conservation projects have enjoyed widespread acclaim in India.
India in Europe
Europe is an important destination for Indian students seeking to pursue under-graduate and post-graduate education overseas. United Kingdom is the prime destination for Indian students within the European Union.
Indian fine arts and culture is well received in Europe. India has regularly held cultural events in Europe : L'Année de l'Inde (France 1985), Bombaysers de Lille (France 2006), Europalia India (Belgium 2014).
Europe is popular with Indian tourists. Indian movies filmed in outdoor locations have popularised European  destinations : the Alps, French Riviera and cities like Paris, London, Lyon, Prague, Budapest and Dublin. Indian movies are regular entrants in film festivals in Europe. Bollywood is increasingly represented at the annual Cannes Film Festival. Picturesque European locations have hosted lavish weddings for Indian billionaires.
Perception of India
- Foreign relations of India
- Foreign relations of the European Union
- France–India relations
- Foreign relations of France
- India–United Kingdom relations
- Foreign relations of the United Kingdom
- Germany–India relations
- Foreign relations of Germany
- India–Russia relations
- India–United States relations
- China–India relations
- List of think tanks in India
- Emerging and growth-leading economies
- G-20 major economies
- G20 developing nations
- BASIC countries
- Potential superpowers
- Non-Aligned Movement
- Indian Armed Forces
- Why Does India Have So Many 'Strategic Partners' and No Allies?
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- The Continent-wide rise of Euroscepticism (European Council of Foreign Relations) 2015
- European Union: Questions and Answers (Federation of American Scientists) 2015
- "Germany faces impossible choice as Greek austerity revolt spreads". The Telegraph. 11 Feb 2015.
- "Could Europe lose Greece to Russia?". BBC. 12 March 2015.
- "Cyprus signs deal to allow Russian navy to use ports". BBC. 26 February 2015.
- Germany's Fischer warns of looming political crisis in Europe
- 'Enough Sauerkraut and Beer': France and Germany Celebrate 50 Years of Friendship
- Joschka Fischer: ‘Germans don’t care about Juncker’
- "Russia sows discord in central Europe". Financial Times. March 19, 2015.
- "Greece Chooses National Survival, Not Destruction" (February 20, 2015). Executive Intelligence Review.
- "Russia's relations with Hungary warm as ties with West chill". Reuters. Nov 19, 2014.
- "Hungary, Cyprus and Greece first to return to Russian market after sanctions lifted – watchdog". RT. TV-Novosti. March 17, 2015.
- Eurozone anxiety overshadows EU summit
- The Juncker Commission, the return of politics ?
- Italy pushes inexperienced minister as successor to Catherine Ashton
- Will the EU get a dream team?
- Juncker, Tusk, Mogherini and the EU’s credibility crisis
- Europe’s Fresh Start?
- EEAS Resetting European External Action (Institut Jacques Delors) 2015
- The euro: Good bet or fool's paradise? (BBC)
- Joschka Fischer: Angela Merkel must accept that her austerity policy is now in tatters
- The arrogance of eurozone elites could kill the European Union
- Herman van Rompuy has won the Euro jackpot, but we're paying
- How well do you remember Herman van Rompuy?
- Tony Blair should be sacked as Middle East envoy, say former ambassadors
- High Representative Federica Mogherini appoints Catherine Ashton as her Special Advisor for Iran talks
- The Eurozone is in economic decline in both relative and absolute terms (Carnegie Europe)
- As The Wall Is Breached (Outlook)
- Juncker’s new start for Europe (Bruegel) 2014
- What’s Holding Back the India-EU FTA?
- European Commission: Market Access Investigations & Trade Disputes
- EU ban on Indian mangoes, vegetables could hit free trade talks
- Mango prices to go up as EU lifts ban
- Greenpeace India fears charity crackdown under Narendra Modi (2014)
- Foreign-aided NGOs are actively stalling development, IB tells PMO in a report (2014)
- Does Europe’s Arrogance Blind it to Asia?
- Europeans Still Learning About Asia
- India as an Inspiration for Europe?
- EU-India relations: from blind spot to strategic engagement
- What do the EU and India have in common? (World Economic Forum)2015
- Pallavi Aiyar: A partnership of equals
- Four pillars for an EU-India partnership
- Germany and political union in Europe : nothing moves without France
- Europe's India aversion
- O. Wolf, Siegfried. [The Merits of Regional Cooperation: The Case of South Asia edited by The Merits of Regional Cooperation]. Springer. p. 121. ISBN 978-3-319-02234-5.
- US court dismisses lawsuit against India's Narendra Modi
- Quiet lunch shatters EU boycott of Narendra Modi
- After 10 years of boycott, European Union envoys meet Narendra Modi, say this is a 'new phase'
- European Union ends 'boycott' of Narendra Modi
- Why The U.S. Shunned The Man Who Will Now Lead India
- "India Swears In PM as South Asian Leaders Watch". Voice of America (VOA). 19 May 2014.
- Why Gujarat is described as a land of opportunities (Economic Times) 2015
- Narendra Modi features on Time magazine cover; Congress angry (NDTV) 2012
- Germany, France on, Brussels off from Modi's April travel
- [Narendra Modi may skip Brussels in European tour Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/1RUARTbEiGID614Ay29xlI/Germany-France-on-Brussels-off-from-Modis-April-travel.html?utm_source=copy "Narendra Modi may skip Brussels in European tour Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/1RUARTbEiGID614Ay29xlI/Germany-France-on-Brussels-off-from-Modis-April-travel.html?utm_source=copy"]. Live Mint. 15 March 2015.
- "Brussels off Modi’s Europe tour in April". Tribune India. 15 March 2015.
- "Modi scraps Brussels visit". The Hindu. 16 March 2015.
- Germany, France on, Brussels off from PM Modi's April travel
- Italian Marines row hits PM Narendra Modi's EU plan
- MEPs call for Italian marò accused of killing Indian fishermen to be repatriated (European Parliament) Press Release
- MEPs call for Italian marò accused of killing Indian fishermen to be repatriated (European Parliament)
- PM Narendra Modi’s Brussels visit cancelled as EU fails to respond (WN.com)
- Germany, France on, Brussels off from PM Modi's April travel
- EU pins hopes on Modi to boost ties with India, but obstacles remain
- Estonian Europarliamentarians ask for Ashton's help to anti-pirate guards
- India Arrests Crew of US-Owned Anti-Piracy Ship
- European survey reveals intentions of international students, compares legislation
- Bollywood: Shooting movies in France (French Embassy in India) 2012
- A Lavish Wedding to Remember: Italy Meets India in a Lavish Wedding to Remember
- Diamond fortune puts £10m sparkle on wedding celebrations
- Welcome to the $78 million wedding
- Mutual Perceptions of Asia and Europe in a Changing Global Environment (Asia-Europe Foundation) 2011
- India's Daughter and BBC - Essay by Professor Jakob De Roover (India Platform, Ghent University, Belgium) March 2015
- Foreign students quit Germany in droves
- Asian caste discrimination rife in UK, says report
- Asian Footballers Speak Out Against Racism
- "BBC Poll: Attitudes towards Countries". GlobeScan.com. Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.
- "BBC World Service poll" (PDF). BBC. 3 June 2014.
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- Official newsletter of the European Union Delegation to India