India and the European Union set up a Trade and Technology Council

The aim is to boost their cooperation, despite their divergent positions on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The European Union and India on Monday announced the creation of a Special Council dedicated to trade and technology to boost their cooperation, despite their divergent positions on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The EU has only one Trade and Technology Council, with the United States, and therefore it is significant that it was so important for us to create a second one with the India“Said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, quoted in a joint press release. “This relationship is more important today than ever. We have a lot in common, we are vibrant democracies and we are strong supporters of the rules-based international order“, continued the leader, on the second day of her visit to New Delhi.

The EU, India’s third largest trading partner

Following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday and Friday, this is the latest visit to encourage New Delhi to distance itself from Moscow and support Western action against the invasion of Ukraine. India, dependent on imports of energy, agricultural products and armaments from Russia, has refrained from openly condemning Moscow and joining in the votes to this effect at the UN.

The creation of this Council is part of a broader European plan to accelerate trade negotiations with India and offer it a viable alternative to diversify from Russia, according to Bloomberg News citing a source who requested anonymity. The “Strategic Coordination Mechanism will enable all partners to address challenges at the intersection of trade, reliable technologies and security, and thus deepen EU-India cooperation in these areas“, adds the joint press release.

The parties indicated, according to the press release, to haveagreed that rapid changes in the geopolitical environment underscore the need for deeper joint strategic engagement“. Negotiations on a free trade agreement between India and the EU have been stalled since 2013 on issues such as patent protection and tariff cuts, although the two sides agreed in May 2021 to resume talks.

The EU is India’s third-largest trading partner and the value of their trade was around €62.8 billion in 2020, according to the European Commission. Discussions on free trade agreements are underway or about to begin with several countries, including Britain, Australia and Israel. India and the United Arab Emirates signed an economic agreement in Februarystageto boost trade and investment.


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