The European Union and India

The European Union and India

Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership?

Pascaline Winand, Marika Vicziany and Poonam Datar

This multi-disciplinary book provides a comprehensive analysis of the EU–India relationship from 1950 to the present day, as a way of assessing whether a meaningful and sustainable relationship is emerging and whether it will play a role in the future of international diplomacy and business.

Chapter 5: The rise of Asia and India from the 1990s to the 21st century

Pascaline Winand

Subjects: asian studies, asian politics and policy, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, international relations


What changes did the end of the Cold War and the rise of Asia bring to European Union (EU)–India relations? This chapter first looks at Indian export and investment policies towards the European Community (EC) in the context of India’s sweeping economic reforms and the EC’s mutation into the EU with a developing economic and monetary union. We then examine EU attempts to address the challenge of growing Asian economic and political power and why India was one of the Asian countries accorded top priority for ‘pro-active economic cooperation’ by the EU. We consider what made the new agreement on partnership and development between the EC and India different from previous ones and what bones of contention slowed down an incipient political dialogue. We then turn to frustrated EU attempts to cooperate with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Indian relentless lobbying efforts to join the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM). We examine the progress made in improving trade, investment and development cooperation between India and the EU in the 1990s as well as the numerous mutual irritants in EU–India relations. Moving to the 21st century we explain why the EU put India on par with the US, Canada, Japan, China and Russia as one of its strategic partners.

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