India-China relations are souring. The EU is playing a delicate balancing act in advancing its values and interests with both players. The EU-India Summit of July 2020 is indicative of how the EU looks towards India to deliver as a reliable partner in Asia, with similar values of multilateralism and democracy. The Joint Statement cemented this relationship as opposed to the two virtual EU-China Summits of this year, both of which left us with no concluding statement and were overshadowed by the recent implementation of the contentious Hong Kong national security law. Historically, the India-China relationship has been rocky and once could have been assuaged during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s rule. Now, it is even more strained while the economic interdependence between the economies grows more apparent. Currently, with global governance models in question, both India and China are vying to be associated with multilateralism by becoming more involved with international organisations, including UN agencies. Paying attention to the EU’s assertive stance towards China and with Brexit on the horizon, India has recently been fostering relationships with the EU and other Member States, while the UK is speeding up in its journey towards geopolitical irrelevance. In the last few years, the Asia-Pacific region has become increasingly important to the EU, with a surge in land and maritime security challenges. With security, commercial and technology interests, the EU and India must identify their shared goals and work together to sustain an Asia in equilibrium.
Author: Zahra Beg, Junior Researcher, EIASDownload Policy Brief
Photo Credits: European Union