The EU has been working on an India engagement for two decades now – a strategic partnership and a free trade engagement. It is finally being realised – the outcome of the visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Delhi this month. The upgraded, ambitious partnership Europe’s long overdue pivot to India.
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There is no better way to celebrate the winter festive season in Mumbai than to visit the many Bombay East Indian enclaves dotting the metropolis, urban villages that once made up the city before the 17th century. Attending Midnight Mass in the Bombay East Indian dialect of Marathi in a parish church and feasting on a traditional Christmas lunch is the best way to experience Mumbai before Bombay.
Five hundred years before the ‘string of pearls’ or strategic naval bases surfaced as part of China’s global dominance plan, Imperial Portugal was a naval power which tried to impose its hegemony over vast swathes of the Indian Ocean. What informed this grand vision of a 16th-century Portuguese seaborne empire?
This India-EU summit was different from the ones past, and India is a significant gainer. A trade agreement and connectivity partnership aside, the EU has stepped up to help India during this emergency, viewing it not as a weak state but as a partner in distress. The geopolitical indicators for an enhanced engagement are now also in place.
A new chief is due to occupy the chair of the UN Secretary General later this year. The lobbying for this prestigious global post has already begun. There is a rotation system that offers equal opportunities to regional blocs to promote their candidates. But this time, it's a toss between having the first woman to head the body, or continuing with the West-led bloc's candidate. Who will win? And where does India stand?
The Space20 is the newest sub-forum of the G20 initiated by Saudi Arabia, with the support of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. India, on its way to the G20 presidency in 2022, should set a comprehensive Space20 agenda for the democratization of outer space, whereby it can share its space growth story with the developing world and achieve its goal to become a global knowledge epicenter.
The UN turned 75 this year but instead of grand celebrations, the world witnessed an empty UNGA with world leaders addressing it via video screening because of the pandemic. The UN is under unprecedented stress and being shown up for its inability to tackle the challenges of today like the pandemics, climate change, terrorism or global peace and security. The institution's key governing structures, especially the UN Security Council, are inadequate and demand reform. India must now use gritty resolve to ensure its place in these governing structures.
The recent 15th India-European Union (EU) summit held virtually in July 2020 reflects a bilateral that is gearing for a boost, with both sides trying to move closer in a variety of ways. A serious effort will be required to properly reconcile strategic, trade and investment interests.
In July 2020, Germany takes over as President of the European Union. It’s a fraught time to lead the union which has been slow to react to COVID-19 and needs a new direction. With the pandemic, the U.S.- China stand-off, and a global economic crisis – Chancellor, Angela Merkel has her work cut out.
The results of the European Parliament elections, held late last month, served as an eye-opener for individual member states, such as Germany. A former ambassador to Germany offers an analysis of the leadership changes afoot, shifting coalitions – and also the prospect of stability amidst all the flux