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Von der Leyen in India seals strong India-EU partnership

President Ursula Von der Leyen

Von der Leyen in India seals strong India-EU partnership while underlining the danger autocracies like Russia and China stand for democracies like the European Union and India.

The European Union chief warned Monday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a threat to India’s regional security during a visit to New Delhi aimed at strengthening strategic ties.

Ursula von der Leyen is the latest visiting Western ambassador to question India’s impartial posture on the crisis, despite the fact that India obtains the majority of its armaments from Russia.

Both the EU and India face challenges from a rising China, and von der Leyen raised the spectre of Beijing’s partnership with Moscow to warn the war had consequences further afield than Europe.

Europe will make sure that Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified” aggression against Ukraine will be a “strategic failure”, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday. In her address at the Raisina Dialogue in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the visiting leader also said what happens in Ukraine will have an impact on the Indo-Pacific region.

She said the world’s response to Russia’s aggression will decide the future of both the international system and the global economy. Ursula said, “Countries battered by two years of Covid pandemic must deal now with rising prices for grain, energy, and fertilisers as a direct result of Putin’s war of choice.”

“Two weeks ago, I visited Bucha-the suburb of Kyiv which was devastated by Russian troops as they withdrew from the north of Ukraine,” she said as the chief guest of the Raisina Dialogue 2022 in New Delhi.

Detailing the horrific images coming out of war-torn Ukraine, Ursula said, “I saw bodies lined up on the ground, saw mass graves. I listened to survivors of atrocious crimes Kremlin soldiers committed. These are severe violations of international law targeting & killing innocent civilians, redrawing borders by force, subjugating will of free people.”

EU Commission President Von der Leyen speaks at the Raisina dialogues in New Delhi

Earlier the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, agreed to launch the EU-India Trade and Technology Council at their meeting in New Delhi on Monday.

This strategic coordination mechanism will allow both partners to tackle challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security, and thus deepen cooperation in these fields between the EU and India. 

Both sides agreed that rapid changes in the geopolitical environment highlight the need for joint in-depth strategic engagement. The Trade and Technology Council will provide the political steer and the necessary structure to operationalise political decisions, coordinate technical work, and report to the political level to ensure implementation and follow-up in areas that are important for the sustainable progress of European and Indian economies.

Von der Leyen in India
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen in New Delhi at the raisina dialogues 2022

“Even as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, we are confident that the shared values and common interests of the EU and India offer a strong basis to intensify mutually beneficial and deeper strategic cooperation.

The European Union and India are bound by decades of close partnership and are determined to increase joint efforts to tackle current challenges and address geopolitical circumstances. The decision to set up a Trade and Technology Council will be the first for India with any of its partners and second for the European Union following the first one it has set up with the US. Establishing the EU-India Trade and Technology Council is a key step towards a strengthened strategic partnership for the benefit of all peoples in the EU and India.” said a press release from the EU.