EU-India Think Tank Meetings
6 February 2017
Over the past two years the EU-Asia Centre and the EPC have managed a series of research projects aimed at increasing mutual understanding between India and the EU, promoting contacts between EU and Indian think tanks and developing new ideas on how the EU-India strategic partnership should evolve in the future.
It was agreed to focus the research projects in the following areas:
· Global Governance;
· International Security;
· Promoting Sustainability.
The project partners had to include a mix of EU and Indian TTs and ensure a combination of research and events (closed door and/or public) related to the above-mentioned themes. The research partners included:
a) ORF, Chatham House and EUISS produced three Background Papers covering West Asia, Maritime Security and Counter Terrorism and Countering Radicalisation. These papers were grouped together as one well produced paper publication. The consortium also held a Workshop and a Public Event in New Delhi in September 2016, as well as a final Public Event in Brussels in November.
b) GPPI and Carnegie India held both an EU-India Policy Dialogue on Global Governance & Security, and a public event on the wider topic of EU-India relations in Brussels in September, produced one Policy Paper on “Regional Connectivity in Asia: New Avenues for EU-India Partnership” and another one on “Securing Afghanistan: Prospects for India-EU Cooperation” in November, and held another EU-India Policy Dialogue on Global Governance & Security, as well as another public event, this time in Delhi, on that same month.
c) IAI and Gateway House delivered an Expert Discussion in Mumbai, a Seminar in Rome and a Concluding Presentation in Brussels between November and December. Publications were produced on “EU-India Defence Cooperation: A European Perspective”, “EU-India Cooperation on Cyber Issues: Towards Pragmatic Idealism?”, “EU-India: Starting a More Adventurous Conversation”, “Maritime Security and Freedom of Navigation from the South China Sea and Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: Potential and Limits of EU-India Cooperation”, “EU-India Cooperation on Space and Security”, “Potential and Challenges of India-EU Space Cooperation”, “Maritime Security and Freedom of Navigation from the South China Sea and Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean”, “India-EU Cooperation on Cyber Security and Data Protection”, and “India-EU Defence Cooperation: The Role of Industry”. The full list of publications is available here: http://www.iai.it/en/ricerche/moving-forward-eu-india-security-dialogue.
d) GRF and FES India delivered a Seminar on “EU-India Cooperation on Sustainable Urbanisation” in Pune, India, in September 2016, and produced a Policy Brief on “Charting a Sustainable Future: EU-India Platforms on Energy and Climate Change and Urban Development”, as well as one on “India’s View on Human Security: Citizens First, Holistic Urbanisation and Cooperation with the European Union”.
Among the main recommendations stemming from the various projects were, respectively:
a) From ORF, Chatham House and EUISS:
- West Asia: The EU and India have clear-cut complementarities in regard to peace-keeping operations, under the auspices of the United Nations. There is scope for engagement both at a Track 1.5 and a Track 2 level, to explore concrete options for collaboration.
- Maritime Security: The EU and India should establish a regular high-level, official dialogue on maritime security within the Strategic Partnership in order to build trust and explore avenues for further cooperation (including on situational awareness, sea-borne crime, etc.), building on a comprehensive, multilateral maritime security and governance regime for the Indian Ocean.
- Counter-terrorism and Radicalisation: The EU and India should launch a dialogue to discuss approaches to rogue states, terrorist groups and individuals, while also working on best practice on a domestic level and on greater functional cooperation (e.g. on common situational awareness, coordinating prevention measures, technology and tools).
b) From GPPI and Carnegie India:
- Afghanistan: Regular and more substantial security consultations, military coordination and political cooperation, similar to the US-India-Afghanistan trilateral, should be established between the EU and India in order to ensure the country’s stabilisation and longer-term development.
- Maritime Security: Common challenges and institutionalisation efforts should be reflected in the EU and India’s shared commitment to craft a new multilateral order in the Indian Ocean region.
- Regional Connectivity: Since both the EU and India are set to be affected by the Chinese ‘One Road One Belt’ project, they must use the opportunity to promote their own, rather similar, visions for Eurasian connectivity.
- Conflict Management: Trilateral cooperation with Africa on peace-building and conflict management, leveraging India’s long history of peacekeeping, and the EU’s approach to comprehensive security, opens up many avenues for cooperation which have not yet been explored. A step forward would be to set up multilevel consultations on both questions of ‘grand strategy’, as well as training and on-ground cooperation.
c) From IAI and Gateway House:
- Maritime Security and Freedom of Navigation: Establish an ‘EU-India High Level Dialogue on Maritime Cooperation’; Joint conflict prevention in the Indo-Pacific region; Develop interoperability and increase coordination between EU NAVFOR and the Indian Navy; Support freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Cyber-Security and Data-Protection: Promote intelligence-sharing on cyber-threats; Increase interaction between the Europol’s E3C and India’s proposed National Cyber Coordination Centre; Facilitate the creation of a Cyber Action Task Force at the international level; Develop cooperation on regulating the behaviour of non-state actors in the cyber space.
- Space Policy and Satellite Navigation Cooperation: Establish a Joint Working Group to assess potential for collaborative projects on space surveillance; Increase coordination on crisis management by exchanging data on (almost) real-time information; Develop synergies between the EU’s and India’s scientific projects focusing on research and innovation in space.
- EU-India Industrial Defence Cooperation: Enhance the EU’s visibility and internal coordination on defence matters; Promote India-EU joint military exercises; Establish an India-EU Defence Trade Dialogue.
d) From GRF and FES India:
- Energy, Climate Change and Urban Development: The EU-India forums on energy and climate change and urban development are poised to have a transformative impact on sustainability and the strategic partnership; Both initiatives need to robustly involve the business community and civil society from both sides; Narrowing the focus of either forum will ensure a result-oriented approach.
- Human Security: Expecting India to conform to Western views would be misplaced. Appreciation of the breadth of India’s challenges, as well as its self-perception as a former colony wary of foreign interference in domestic affairs, is required. The EU and India can most effectively collaborate on human security by enhancing bilateral cooperation on sustainable urbanisation.