Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s European Tour Dangers

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Europe has gone through one of the most serious crises in its modern history. This is the time that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen to make an official tour there to boost bilateral ties. During this whirlwind three-day visit, he will speak to no less than eight heads of state, and meet around fifty industry leaders, entrepreneurs and the Indian diaspora.

Specialists will put the European tour in Narendra Modi firmly under the binary tag. The Indian Prime Minister is paying a quick three-day visit from May 2, which will begin in Germany. Modi will then travel to Copenhagen, before landing in Paris on the way back. ” You can’t come to Europe without going through Paris He would be the first foreign leader to meet with Emmanuel Macron since his re-election eight years ago, said into the RFI microphone an India specialist, while recalling that Narendra Modi, who maintains close ties with the French head of state, will be the first foreign leader to meet with Emmanuel Macron. days. It should be noted that Narendra Modi will not go to Brussels as he has already had long talks with the EU President Ursula von der Leyenwho was recently in New Delhi where she gave the opening speech at Raisina Dialogue, a conference on geopolitics.

This will be the first meeting between Modi and German Chancellor Olaf Schulz in Berlin. Bilateral talks between the two heads of government are part of the impetus that Angela Merkel has given to India-Germany relations. The latter is New Delhi’s leading European economic partner, with 1,700 German companies operating in India and more than 20,000 young Indians studying at German universities. Last year, the two countries celebrated their 70th anniversaryAnd The anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them and on the 20thAnd Anniversary of their strategic partnership. The very recent assertion by German Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Tobias Lindner that a major geopolitical problem cannot be resolved without talking to India, gives a measure of the relationship of mutual trust between the two countries.

While the chancellor hopes to persuade Modi to approach the Western position on the Ukraine crisis, the Indians are counting on the support of Germany and France to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement with the European Union, which has been banned since 2013. The issue could be raised during the sixth edition of India – the intergovernmental consultations in Germany ( IGC), which will be chaired by the two leaders. The last session of the Intergovernmental Committee of India was held in October 2019, with the presence ofAngela Markwho was accompanied by dozens of its ministers. CIG has established itself as an important structure for dialogue and implementation of cooperative projects between the two countries.

Indo-Scandinavian cooperation

According to specialists, perhaps the most important part of Narendra Modi’s visit to Europe is his May 3 visit to Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to the business forum and the Green Strategic Partnership meeting between Copenhagen and New Delhi, the Danish capital will host the second Indo-Scandinavian summit that will be attended by several leaders of the region, including Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, and the Prime Minister. Norway’s Jonas Gahr Store, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin. On the list are post-pandemic economic recovery, climate change, innovation and technology, renewable energy, changing global security scenarios, and cooperation between India and Nordic countries in the Arctic.

The green partnership will gain special weight with this second North Indian Summit, Jean-Luc Racine, India specialist explains. With the Nordic countries, India will talk about the North Pole. However, the government released its Arctic work program last month since India has had a research base on Svalbard, the island north of Norway, for several years. Part of it is seeing how things are done in the glaciers compared to the glaciers of the Himalayas. India also has a partnership with Nordic countries on green energy. »

India’s interest in this region dates back to the beginning of the last century, when in 1920 India was part of the Treaty of Svalbard, which established the legal framework governing the exploration of the Arctic. As an observer member of the Arctic Council, India is now one of the few countries besides the United States that regularly meets at a summit with Nordic nations. The Chinese are also present in this region and have invested heavily in scientific expeditions and exploration of energy resources.

For professionals, the turn to Paris is a sign of a close relationship. While Germany is important on matters of economy and technology transfer, India is working closely with France on strategic aspects, experts say. However, Modi does not need to stay long in Paris because overall negotiations on important topics are taking place at regular intervals. “ But being in Europe, and a quick turn to Paris to hug Macron to congratulate him on his re-election, will do the trick. ‘, banter Jean-Luc Racine (1).

Referring to the strategic files underway or awaiting negotiations between Paris and New Delhi, the researcher states that with regard to the Franco-Indian duo, ” The key is defense issues with the French available to play.”made in IndiaOn the table, new submarines and aircraft engines and the question remains whether India will tender a new combat aircraft, in this case the issue of manufacturing the Rafale in India. Over the years, France has established itself as the second largest arms supplier behind Russia but ahead of the United States and is a pivot Strong and Paris is not burdened with human rights issues in India.. »

We can do so much more »

The US Secretary of State and Defense Secretary was on an official visit to India on Tuesday, to hold a bilateral meeting with India’s Defense Minister and External Affairs Minister. Associated Press/Altaf Qadri

Even if all goes well between New Delhi and its main EU partners, in European capitals, we do not understand why India continues to engage with Russia, showing its neutrality in the face of the conflict in Ukraine. During the Resina Dialogue in New Delhi, when the head of Indian diplomacy was asked, Subrahmanyam JaishankerWhy India continues to buy crude oil from Russia, it was easy to remember that these purchases represented between 2 and 3% of India’s energy supply, and that the volume of Indian purchases was probably lower than that of Europe in the afternoon. It is clear that these repeated calls for order irritate Indian officials to the hilt, who do not hesitate to point out Westerners for their failures in respect of the rules-based international order.

Narendra Modi, knowing full well that he would be under pressure throughout his stay in Europe, called for distancing from Moscow and supporting Western action against the invasion of Ukraine. However, he chose this moment of crisis to come and sell India to the Europeans because he clearly sees globalized democracies in disarray with China aligning with Russia’s warlike stances on Vladimir Putin, which raises the issue of vulnerability. world Trade. India is a major partner of the European Union, with the volume of bilateral trade between them in 2020 reaching about $62.8 billion. In India as well as in Europe, policy makers are convinced that it is time to strengthen their strategic partnership. ” The European Union is India’s third largest trading partner, but we can do much more than that Ursula von der Leyen said during her recent visit to New Delhi.

We are in a period of paradigm shift, according to Amrita Narlikar (2), Professor of International Politics at the University of Hamburg and GIGA Foundation, think tank Based in Germany. ” There is a growing awareness in Germany of the danger of putting all eggs in one basket, in this Chinese caseas you say. Germans are increasingly looking to India. We at GIGA are telling the government in Berlin that the lesson to be learned from the current crisis is the threat posed by the over-reliance of authoritarian states on supply chains. It is time for the EU to reduce its dependence on China and look to like-minded partners like India. »

For Professors Amrita Narlekar and Jean-Luc Racine, Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Europe heralds geopolitical realignments at work on the international scene, in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.


(1) Jean-Luc Racine is Director Emeritus of Research at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Senior Researcher at the Asia Centre.

(2) Amrita Narlikar is President of the German Institute for Global and Regional Studies (GIGA) and Professor at the University of Hamburg.

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