Twelve years after they launched their strategic partnership, the EU and India appear ready to take their relationship into new and potentially more adventurous, exciting and mutually beneficial directions. The summit in March 2016 marked the beginning of a more mature and politically relevant dialogue between the EU and India. Implementation of the different priorities set out at the March summit, however, will require time, energy and effort to keep up the momentum. High-level summits should be held regularly – instead of at four-year intervals – so that leaders can maintain contacts and build better relations. New areas of cooperation, including in the security sector, must be strengthened and quickly lead to real action. Given their different histories, identities and priorities, the EU and India will continue to disagree on many issues. Such differences, however, must not become an obstacle to better relations.
Paper presented at the roundtable on EU-India Security Dialogue held in Mumbai on 7 November 2016 within the framework of the project “Moving Forward the EU-India Security Dialogue: Traditional and Emerging Issues” led by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in partnership with Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations (GH). The project is part of the EU-India Think Tank Twinning Initiative funded by the European Union.
1. The new conversation therefore has the potential for being more adventurous and going beyond an exclusively trade agenda
2. Going forward, three important drivers – economics and trade, India’s modernization needs and geopolitics and security – will determine the content and contours of EU-India relations
3. The challenge ahead