Von der Leyen seeks to deepen military and tech ties with India visit
As we explained in our piece three weeks ago, China & Russia’s menacing attitude towards democratic nations, is pushing India and the developed democracies to embrace each other more wholeheartedly. A month ago India signed its first trade deal with a developed country, Australia. Next up seems to be the UAE (although it would be a stretch to call that nation a democracy). The British and Indian PMs has announced that the two countries will sign a trade deal by Diwali. And now the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has arrived in India to negotiate the EU-India trade deal. As the FT explains: “The EU is preparing to announce the creation of a new trade and technology council with India as part of efforts to deepen their relationship and respond to the rising economic power of China.
The new forum could be unveiled during meetings between Ursula von der Leyen and Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, during a visit by the European Commission president to New Delhi on Monday, according to a senior EU official.
Von der Leyen’s discussions with the Indian government will include sales of European military equipment to India and potential joint ventures as the EU seeks ways of reducing India’s longstanding reliance on Russian defence technology.
They will also cover plans to relaunch negotiations this summer aimed at striking a comprehensive trade deal between the EU and India….
Western governments are hoping to find ways of wooing New Delhi away from its longstanding relationship with Moscow, pointing in part to the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s “no limits” partnership with China’s Xi Jinping.
Von der Leyen’s goal is to find ways of offering India alternatives to its “dependencies” on Russia, in areas such as military equipment as well as fertilisers, said the EU official. “We want to offer an even broader relationship with India. My sense is they are interested in ideas [for] co-operation with us.””