[Editorial] The importance of EU-India partnership in the Indo-Pacific

india eu

Context

Europe and its key Indo-Pacific partners are joining forces to deliver a positive agenda for the region at the ministerial forum taking place tomorrow in Paris under France’s ongoing presidency of the EU.

Significance of the ministerial forum

  • At the Forum, the EU will present the support it can provide to countries of the Indo-Pacific region, including in terms of green finance, to achieve their ecological transitions in a just manner.
  • The ministers will also discuss concrete steps to strengthen health sovereignty and promote the “One Health” approach to the pandemic response.
  • At the forum, France will propose the creation of an Indo-Pacific health campus, to be established in India, to bring together India’s pharmaceutical prowess and Europe’s technological capacity for the benefit of the region.

Most probable and repeated topics of upsc prelims

Significance of Indo-Pacific

  • The Indo-Pacific is a crucial region for tackling global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity protection and health resilience.

Indo-Pacific for EU

Concern to all EU countries

  • The issues at stake in this crucial region, including security challenges, are of concern to all EU countries.

The EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific

  • Europe’s answer is a comprehensive and positive agenda of solutions, rather than a logic of military confrontation.
  • This is also the guiding principle of the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, unveiled in September 2021.
  • Europe can offer the countries of the region a sustainable, transparent model for preserving their sovereignty, and an alternative to other models, such as China’s.

EU for the countries of the Indo-Pacific

Sustainable links

  • There are immense connectivity and infrastructure needs in the Indo-Pacific. but these needs should not force the countries of the region into unsustainable dependencies.
  • The EU’s Global Gateway initiative unveiled in December 2021 hopes to address this by pooling the resources of the EU’s institutions and its 27 member states to raise 300 billion euros to build sustainable links.
  • The EU and India have already concluded a Connectivity Partnership (last May in Porto), which can be a pillar of this wider initiative.

How can France and India act together in this region?

  • France, itself a nation of the Indo-Pacific, has a long-standing commitment to upholding the law of the sea in the region, particularly through our permanent naval presence and joint exercises, such as our annual “Varuna” drills with India.
  • In the fields of biodiversity protection and plastic pollution, France and India can act together to spur multilateral action, as exemplified by India’s decision to join the France-initiated international coalition to protect 30 per cent of the land and seas by 2030 (High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People).
  • Cooperation between France and India on protected areas and national parks can also be expanded at the Indo-Pacific scale.

Way Forward

  • In a world of growing tensions, the core goal of France’s EU Presidency is to strengthen Europe’s sovereignty and its ability to decide its own fate.
  • This endeavour matches India’s fundamental aspiration for strategic autonomy.

Conclusion

  • A truly strategic relationship can reshape the post-pandemic world and promote a multipolar order.
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