India-European Union Current Affairs - 2020

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India-EU Summit: EU President calls on PM Modi

On December 21, 2019, the EU President called on PM Modi to discuss regarding an early India-EU summit 2020. It is expected that the leaders will discuss on making progress on the issues related to Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), Europol, counter-terrorism, Euroatom, climate change, etc. The summit is to be held in Brussels.

What is BTIA?

The BTIA is a free trade agreement that was initiated between India and EU in the year 2007. Even after years of negotiations the countries are yet to resolve the deadlock that prevails in and around the issues of fulfilling BTIA.

Obstacles of BTIA

The countries have their own concerns in signing the agreement. India is concerned that it has not been given “data secure” status by the EU. Also, the visa rules of UK have discriminated against Indian technical professionals. In 2016, India cancelled several bilateral agreements signed earlier with the EU claiming that they were outdated.

EU wants India to reduce tax on liquor, automobiles. However, in the interest of promoting domestic automobile industry, India is unable to fulfill the demand. EU also wants India to liberalize legal services and accountancy. It also wants India to sign pacts that will allow investors to avail Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism at the WTO.

Members of EU meet PM Modi; visit Kashmir

A 28-member delegation from European Union met PM Modi on October 28, 2019. The delegation will visit Kashmir on October 29, 1019. The delegation is to check on the reality of the situation in Kashmir. This is the first trip to the region by a foreign delegation after India revoked Article 370 and integrated Kashmir with the rest of the country. India rejected US ‘s plea to visit the region earlier in October.

Highlights of PM’s speech to the delegates

  • PM asserted that there should be Zero Tolerance for terrorism
  • He also highlighted India’s jump in Ease of Doing Business Index from 142nd rank in 2014 to 63 in 2019
  • He mentioned about the success of swachh Bharat, Ayushman Bharat, India’s commitment to eliminate TB by 2025

Significance

  • The delegation will get a clear understanding about the cultural and religious diversity of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh
  • GoI’s decision to allow a foreign delegation implies that situation is coming under control
  • It will also take the wind out of the sails of Pakistan and Pakistan inspired anti-India liberal lobbies.
  • As Europe is not in a position to wield the big power stick as that of US, experts believe that it is wise to let the EU first