European Union and India : Signs of Revival

There are signs of revival in multifaceted relations between India and European Union. The visit of Indian Prime Minister to Belgium to participate in the 13th India-EU Sum-mit on March 30, 2016 marks a new beginning as the relations between them were stalled for last four years. The last annual summit was held in 2012. The difference between the two sides came to the fore with EU’s ban on import of certain Indian drugs, its stringent standards of human rights imposed against India and issues underlying the signing of a free trade agreement. The negotiations on a free trade agreement started in 2007, but could not be advanced due to persis-tent differences. This free trade agreement is known as Broadbased Trade and Investment (BTIA). With the holding of 13th Summit, hopes for this agreement have also revived. India and the European Union have many complementarities, which need to be further harnessed in view of the close historical ties between India and European countries.
The interactions between Europe and India in modern times did not start with a happy note in view of the British colonialism in India for three hundred years. However, India came into contact with the Western ideas and institutions during colonial period. If European countries bene-fited from the resources of India, the latter looked forward to Europe for her political and economic moder-nization. Many of the present politi-cal, administrative and economic institutions and ideas in present day India have British legacy. The globalization and the emerging global market economy provided fresh impetus for new engagements bet¬ween India and Europe. The present phase of strategic partnership bet¬ween the two is the natural result of this new impetus. On the other hand, European countriesjsed India’s huge emerging market and middle class as
the new opportunity for their growth and sustained development. India as a market has attracted Europe for a long time. However, the thriving democracy in India and her princi¬ples of rule of law, respect for the fundamental freedoms of people provide extra common ground for unfolding strategic partnership bet-ween the two.