India-EU relations go back to the early 1960s. India was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the (then) European Economic Community (EEC). The 1994 cooperation agreement signed between EU and India took bilateral relations well beyond trade and economic cooperation. The 5th India-EU Summit at The Hague in 2004 endorsed the EU’s proposal to upgrade the relationship to a ‘Strategic Partnership’. The two sides also adopted a Joint Action Plan in 2005, which provides for strengthening dialogue and consultation mechanisms; deepening political dialogue and cooperation; bringing together people and cultures; enhancing economic policy dialogue and cooperation; and developing trade and investment.
VISIT OF THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA
The President of India visited Strasbourg from 25-26 April 2007 at the invitation of the President of the European Parliament (EP). During the visit, he addressed the European Parliament and met with the President of the EP. Members of the India Delegation of the EP, Vice President of the European Commission, and Commissioner of Enterprise and Industry called on him. This was the first ever visit by a President of India to the EP.
The 11th India-EU Summit was held in Brussels on 10 December 2010. This was the first Summit after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. India was represented by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the EU by Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. This was the first time that the President of European Council conducted the meeting along with President Barosso, and not the Head of State or Government of the rotating Presidency of the EU, reflecting changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty.
The Summit reviewed India-EU relations; stressed the importance of an ambitious and balanced conclusion of the India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) in the spring of 2011; welcomed the increasing cooperation in the field of security and defence; and issued a Joint Declaration on International Terrorism. An India-EU Joint Declaration on Culture was also signed during the Summit. In the Joint Statement issued by the leaders, it was agreed to present the results of the 2008 Joint Work Programme on Energy, Clean Development and Climate Change at the next India-EU summit in 2011. The Joint Statement also called for an early conclusion of the India-EU Agreement for Research and Development Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy; a swift finalisation of the agreement on satellite navigation initialled in 2005; and an early implementation of the civil aviation agreement.
India and the EU also interact regularly at the Foreign Ministers’ level. The 22nd India-EU Ministerial Meeting took place in Bangalore on 16 January 2012. External Affairs Minister Shri S.M. Krishna led the Indian delegation. The EU side was led High Representative Ms. Catherine Ashton. India-EU relations, regional issues (both around Europe and India) and global issues were discussed at the Meeting.
India and EU have instituted Foreign Policy Consultations at the level of Secretaries. The first meeting took place in New Delhi on 15 November 2011.
There is a regular mechanism of Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) between India and the EU. Nineteen SOMs have been held till date. The last meeting took place on 21 October 2010 in Brussels.
The European Parliament (EP) has established an India Delegation, which has 20 members and 20 substitutes. Mr. Graham Watson, British MEP, is the current Chairperson. India Delegation teams led by Mr. Watson visited India in April 2010 and April 2011.
INDIA-EU BUSINESS LINKS
The EU, as a bloc of 27 countries, is India’s largest trading partner, while India was the EU’s 8th largest trading partner in 2011. Total bilateral trade in 2011 increased by 17.2% to € 79.7 billion (Indian exports of € 39.3 billion: Indian imports of € 40.4 billion in 2011) as compared to € 68.02 billion in 2010. Indian exports to the EU in 2011 grew by 18% (from €33.2 billion in 2010) and imports from the EU increased by 16% (from € 34.8 billion in 2010).
In 2010, India’s exports of services to the EU amounted to € 8.7 billion, whereas Indian imports of services from the EU were worth € 10.9 billion.
The EU is one of the largest sources of FDI for India. FDI inflows from the EU to India increased from € 3.4 billion in 2009 to € 4.68 billion in 2010. India’s investment into EU has seen a marginal decline from € 0.945 billion in 2009 to € 0.48 billion in 2010. The most important countries in the EU for FDI flows into India in 2010 were Germany, Italy, Finland, France and UK.
India and the EU have held thirteen rounds of negotiations for a bilateral Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement. Negotiations commenced in 2007, and cover trade in goods, sanitary & phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade, trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights and geographical indications, competition policy, customs and trade facilitation, trade defence, and dispute settlement. The last round of negotiations took place in New Delhi from 31 March to 5 April 2011.
The India-EU Joint Commission, and its three sub-commissions on trade, economic cooperation and development cooperation, meets annually. The last Joint Commission meeting at the level of Secretaries was held in New Delhi on 6 January 2012. The Sub-Commission on Trade had its last meeting in Brussels on 12 July 2011; the Sub-Commission on Economic Cooperation met last in Brussels on 13 July 2011; and the Sub-Commission on Development Cooperation met in New Delhi on 4 May 2011. India and EU have set up an Energy Panel, whose last meeting was held in New Delhi on 18 November 2011.
In addition, both sides have set up Joint Working Groups/Joint Committee on Counter Terrorism, the last meeting of which was held in New Delhi on 10 January 2012; on Consular Issues, which met last in New Delhi on 25 May 2009; on Agriculture and Marine Products, and Energy, which had its last meeting in New Delhi on 19 May 2011; on Coal, which met last in New Delhi on 5 April 2011; on Environment, which last met on 30 September 2011 in New Delhi; on Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Issues, which met last through video-conferencing on 7 July 2011; on Information Technology & Communications, which met last on 26-27 Mar 2009 in Brussels; Textiles, which met last on 22 November 2005 in Brussels; Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, which met on 21-22 Sept 2009 in New Delhi; Food Processing Industries, which had its last meeting in Brussels on 24 November 2006; and Customs Cooperation, which met last in New Delhi on 12 November 2009.
Both sides also have regular dialogues on security (last dialogue held in New Delhi on 18 June 2011), human rights (last dialogue held in New Delhi on 22 March 2011), macro-economy (last meeting held in New Delhi on 16-17 May 2011), and Science and Technology (last meeting held on 1 April 2011 in Brussels).
India and the EU have signed bilateral agreements on a range of issues, which include cooperation in the field of Science & Technology in 2001 (renewed in 2007); Joint Vision Statement for promoting cooperation in the field of information and communications technology in 2001; customs cooperation agreement in 2004; Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Employment and Social Affairs in November 2006; Horizontal Civil Aviation Agreement in 2008; Joint Declaration in field of Education in 2008; Joint Declaration on Multilingualism in March 2009; Agreement in the field of nuclear fusion energy research in November 2009; and Joint Declaration on Culture in December 2010.