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 10: Development cooperation: have the tables turned?

Poonam Datar

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


Renowned economist Amartya Sen (2001) identifies five instrumental freedoms to encourage development: political freedoms, social opportunities, transparency guarantees, protective security (state welfare, for example), and economic services. Since independence, India has been on the path of establishing freedom in all of these five areas, with the assistance of external actors such as the European Union (EU) – India’s largest aid donor. As India’s capability in these five areas strengthens, its demand for external assistance wanes. Although India has by no means fulfilled its development goals, it appears to have progressed enough to start assisting others in their development efforts with both altruistic and soft power considerations. This chapter looks at the changing nature of EU–India development cooperation, and provides a preliminary assessment of EU aid in the lead up to the conclusion of the EU–India 2007–13 Country Strategy Paper (CSP). Since independence in 1947, India has embarked on a path of development that started off excruciatingly slowly in economic terms with barely 1 percent growth per annum until the mid-1980s (Bhalla 2003). Concurrently, poverty levels in India stagnated during this period, accounting for the need and level of external development aid. Although the economy began to take a turn for the better in the 1980s, it was not until the early 1990s that India experienced phenomenal economic growth with gross domestic product (GDP) rates of nearly 6 percent per annum (Chowdhury and Mahmud 2008).

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