Europe and India relations in the Ukraine crisis

Where do EU-India relations stand?

On 24 February 2022, the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out and has now progressed into its second year. The European Union (EU) imposes its 10th package of sanctions against Russia and revamps its   security policies recognizing the importance of hard power.

India’s ties with Russia and partnership with Europe

The ties between India and the EU continue to flourish. Nevertheless, India’s neutrality has raised questions regarding its commitment to a rules-based order that underpins the EU-India strategic partnership. In the initial days of the conflict, the EU persuade India to change its position and rethink its war-related abstentions at the United Nations (UN).

Although the current positions on this crisis differed,  the relationships India-Europe has not dampened and ties remains steady.

Indian general election 2019

A revitalised partnership

The pandemic era already witnessed an important strategic reset in EU-India ties. The EU’s own emergence as a global strategic actor during the pandemic and the recent Ukraine conflict also contributed to its changing perception of India.

The consequences are that now India and Europe have institutionalised dialogues in many different policy areas. From climate change and maritime security to include defence, technology, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

For the world’s largest single market and fifth-largest economy, the stability of trade routes and supply chains linking Asia to Europe is critical. In 2021 the EU-India Connectivity Partnership was launched as part of the EU’s Global Gateway to rival China’s Belt & Road Initiative. In 2022 the first-ever EU-India Security and Defence Consultations were held in June and the EU-India Trade & Technology Council was created to facilitate cooperation in these areas.

Deepening political engagement

The EU-India partnership has matured and galvanised through the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis. India and Europe continue to politically engage with each other. Communication has improved and a willingness to understand each other’s strategic perspectives is raising.

At the same time, the Ukraine Crisis has led to a resurgence of values-based partnerships with like-minded countries, where EU-India partnership fits in.

Opportunities for Collaboration

Further collaboration opportunities for EU-India can only increase when both rethink their energy, trade and security architectures, and seek alternatives to move away from Russia and China.

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