As Europe diversifies its partnerships with Asia, India will be a central actor with a rising capacity to influence international politics. The European Council on Foreign Relations, Carnegie India, and Fundação Oriente organized the first annual India Strategy Group (ISG), a high-level track 1.5 India-Europe dialogue, to bring together key stakeholders from politics, government, business, think tanks, and media from India, the European Union (EU), and EU member states.

Discussion Highlights

  • India-EU Ties at Political Crossroads: Participants noted that both India and Europe have increasing political will to improve their relationship. Europe views India as a central actor in a multipolar Asia. In the wake of Brexit, India seeks to strengthen its relationship with the EU beyond bilateral engagements with European nations. 
  • Enhancing Trade and Investment: Indian participants argued that trade is too crucial a matter to be left to the EU Commission and Indian trade negotiators alone. They highlighted the importance of including other institutions in economic dialogues, such as the Ministry of External Affairs. European participants agreed that there was a need to include participants from different government institutions so that economic goals can be more aligned with strategic goals. 
  • Nuclear Security Dynamics: Participants discussed the shortcomings of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). They stated that the NPT has been successful in avoiding a nuclear catastrophe but is not equipped to deal with states like North Korea and Iran, nor with proliferation by non-signatory states like Pakistan and the challenges of next-generation nuclear weapons. Participants agreed on the need to establish a new international consensus on dealing with unstable states which have nuclear weapons. 
  • Future of Data Governance: Indian participants underlined that the debate around data governance and privacy is a major issue in India. They added that the real debate on data governance is not about managing data, but about the future of governance in the digital age. Participants stated that the EU needs to increase its presence and visibility in the present start-up space and technology debates in India.
  • Securing Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific: Indian participants underscored the historic maritime trade connections between Europe and India, given the vast connectivity networks across Eurasian and Indo-Pacific routes. They noted the increase in cooperation between India and Europe in the Indo-Pacific represents an understanding that, given the increasing competition and militarization in the region, maintaining a rules-based order is absolutely critical. Participants emphasized the need for more interaction between Indian and European experts on maritime issues. 

This event summary was prepared by Rhea Menon, a research assistant at Carnegie India.

Agenda

Thursday, June 7

7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Opening Dinner

  • Keynote speech: Augusto Santos Silva, Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs 
  • P. S. Raghavan, convenor of the National Security Advisory Board of India 
  • Chair: Ralf Beste, director for policy planning at the German Federal Foreign Office 

Friday, June 8

9:00 to 9:30 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

  • Carlos Monjardino, chairman of the board of directors at Fundação Oriente 
  • François Godement, director of Asia programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations 
  • Constantino Xavier, fellow at Carnegie India
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Europe and India at Political Crossroads

  • François Godement, director of Asia programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations 
  • Alexander McLachlan, senior adviser of strategic planning division at the European External Action Service 
  • Shakti Sinha, director of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library 
  • Shivali Lawale, director of the Symbiosis School of International Studies 
  • Chair: Frédéric Grare, chargé de mission (Asia) at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
11:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Coffee Break 

11:30 to 1:00 p.m.

Building Blocks Towards Increased Trade and Investment

  • Maaike Okano-Heijmans, senior research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for International Relations, Clingendael 
  • Friedolin Strack, managing director at the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business 
  • Mohan Kumar, vice dean and professor of diplomatic practice at the Jindal School of International Relations 
  • Ila Patnaik, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy 
  • Chair: Murali Nair, senior project manager at the Bertelsmann Foundation 
1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

New Dynamics of Nuclear Security and Non-Proliferation 

  • Rakesh Sood, distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation 
  • Chair: Angela Stanzel, senior policy fellow in Asia programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations 
2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

The Future of Data Governance

  • Marine Guillaume, policy analyst for global issues & cybersecurity in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
  • Lea Kaspar, executive director at Global Partner Digital 
  • Avik Sarkar, head of data analytics cell at the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) 
  • Nehaa Chaudhari, public policy lead at TRA Law 
  • Chair: Dr. Constantino Xavier, fellow at Carnegie India 
3:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Coffee Break

4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Securing Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific

  • Caroline Vinot, head of division for regional affairs and south asia at the External European Action Service 
  • Garima Mohan, research fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute 
  • Anil Chopra, member of National Security Advisory Board India 
  • Dhruva Jaishankar, fellow in foreign policy studies at Brookings India 
  • Chair: Darshana M. Baruah, research analyst and program administrator at Carnegie India 
5:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Wrap-up and conclusions 

  • Carlos Gaspar, board member and researcher at the Portuguese Institute of International Relations 
  • François Godement, director of Asia programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations 
  • Constantino Xavier, fellow at Carnegie India 
7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Closing Dinner - The Age of Disruptive Technologies 

  • Nicolas Colin, co-founder & director of The Family 
  • Avik Sarkar, head of data analytics cell at the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) 
  • Chair: Nehaa Chaudhari, public policy lead at TRA Law