The recently concluded ASEAN-U.S. Summit has raised the bilateral cooperation to a strategic comprehensive partnership. Key areas of cooperation were identified and global health, SDGs, maritime security and connectivity, and the Ukrainian war dominated the dialogue. The meeting is significant in light of the May 24 Quad Summit, where it is important for the US to have its engagement with ASEAN visible.
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The strength and trust in the India-FRANCE bilateral was evident during the May 4th visit of Prime Minister Modi to Paris. Beyond the difficult discussions on multilateral issues, the partnership has been deepened in several key areas of cooperation, from defence to education, climate, energy, digitalisation and technical collaboration. Energy and digitalisation are two particularly bright spots for future collaboration.
India and Israel have completed three decades of diplomatic cooperation. Their bilateral partnership in the areas of defence and agriculture is successful. Now is a good opportunity to deepen their existing collaboration in defence and agriculture and identify ways to work together on water security, renewable energy and green healthcare.
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.
New global economic, military and political alliances are taking shape, and call for like-minded nations to calibrate their strategic, long term interests. The new India-Australia economic trade agreement is reflective of this. It also folds in a critical element: wide cooperation in cyber security, which now impacts the economy, democratic institutions and warfare. India has much to learn from Australia’s low key but smart cyber expertise.
On February 18, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). This is a modern trade agreement with its roots in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency’s administration of the nine Emirati kingdoms.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has been focused on resolving the Afghan crisis. But divergent views of members and the influence of China and Pakistan have eluded a solution. This has been further impeded by the ongoing sanctions and humanitarian issues which are beyond the organisation's scope.
The unprecedented consensus within the EU in accepting Ukrainian refugees presents it as a global humanitarian power. But is this truly a ‘paradigm shift’ or is it a continuation of the West European Cold War strategy, based on a moral high ground narrative, of accepting people who had fled the ‘evil and undemocratic’ Soviet-bloc countries during and after World War II?
The 2022-23 Indian budget has made a provision to encourage private sector participation and military collaborations in drone technology and manufacture. This will boost indigenous production, limit imports, and develop India's drone capabilities and counter-measures.
India and France have been actively working together to solve various sustainability issues from renewable energy generation to the blue economy and biodiversity conservation. There is so much more to do bilaterally with climate finance and urban sustainability, and multilaterally with the G20. All the ingredients are in place for a robust climate partnership.