The 15th India-EU Summit, led by Indian PM Narendra Modi, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, will be held today via videoconference.
While talks will likely touch upon on recent Chinese manoeuvres deemed threatening by EU and Indian leadership—the erosion of civil liberties in Hong Kong, the development of military infrastructure in the South China Sea and fatal Sino-Indo clashes along the Line of Actual Contact in Ladakh—the summit will offer the opportunity to cement strategic partnerships through trade and investment, climate cooperation and digital connectivity. The two parties are expected to give fresh momentum to currently stalled negotiations over the broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement, which began approximately 13 years ago but has seen little progress since.
Today’s summit could produce solid progress on previously stagnant issues, namely the EU’s requested reform of Indian tax and intellectual property regimes and India’s requested data security status for its expansive IT sector. Expect the solid economic rationale behind India-EU ties to boost the likelihood of progress, given the EU’s strategic acknowledgement of India’s rapid modernisation and ample growth potential. Per its 2019 strategy on future connectivity between Europe and Asia, the bloc will likely seek robust long-term economic ties with India, Japan and South Korea as suspicion mounts over China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Europe gravitates towards its natural supply chain allies. The talks will likely attempt to leverage India’s drug manufacturing prowess with the EU’s technical expertise to boost healthcare capabilities in the wake of COVID-19.
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Daniel is an analyst and editor on the Current Developments team. He contributes regularly to the Daily Brief, focusing primarily on European, Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan politics.