India, EU to discuss trade, ‘sensitive bilateral issues’ at Brussels Summit
- The India EU summit will witness an attempt from both sides to kick start the stalled talks on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), a free trade agreement between India and the European Union.
- The talks have become a casualty of diplomatic tension between the two sides. The friction has been caused by various incidents, including India’s arrest in 2012 of Italian marines MassimilianoLattore and Salvatore Girone, charged with killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala.
- The summit will also provide an opportunity for leaders to raise more sensitive bilateral issues such as the ongoing international arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in regard to the case of two Italian marines, as well as the case of fourteen Estonian and six U.K. Guards sentenced to prison by an Indian court
- Last year, a second diplomatic fracas, this time over the ban on 700 generic Indian drugs in the EU, on procedural grounds, struck a blow to the free trade talks.
- In addition to the BTIA, the leaders are expected to endorse an EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 which will set strategic priorities for the next five years.
- Several of the expected joint declarations specifically address pet projects of the Modi government including the ‘Indo-EU Water Partnership’ regarding the Indian government’s ‘Clean Ganga’ and ‘Clean India’ projects and a declaration on 5G spectrum networks which speaks to the Indian government’s ‘Digital India’ scheme as well as the EU’s ‘Digital Single Market.’
- There will also be a declaration on clean energy and climate, which will form the basis of implementing a dialogue on climate and renewable energy between India and the EU following the Paris COP21 meetings of last year.
CAMM, joint declaration on terror
- A Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), addressing regular and irregular migration as well as trafficking, as well as a joint declaration on terrorism are expected to be adopted during Mr. Modi’s visit.
- The counter-terrorism declaration was already on the cards prior to the March 22 terror attack in Brussels, but has come into sharp focus since then.
Discussions on Ukraine
- The summit is likely to involve discussions on Ukraine and a call for all countries to respect the Minsk Agreements, the 2015 agreement to maintain peace in Ukraine, to which Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany are signatories. The Afghan peace process, and the South Asian region are also likely to feature in talks, according to a EU.
India EU relation:
The EU is India’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to $126 billion. The EU is also the largest export destination for India, and a source of $69 billion in FDI.