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Renita Bhaskar: A Speech on EU-India Relations

Ms. Renita Bhaskar is the Minister Counsellor (Head of Trade and Economic Affairs) and the Delegation of the European Union.

During the 2022 Class of EuropeIndia40 announcement event, Ms. Renita Bhaskar discussed the developing EU-India relations.

Ms. Bhaskar began her speech by congratulating the 2022 selected group of next generation leaders chosen because of their outstanding performance and skills. She commended the newly elected group and expressed her happiness as she believes the new leaders will play a role in shaping the economic development of both the EU and India and contribute to an economically prosperous and greener society.

Ms. Renita Bhaskar stressed on several of the challenges that nations globally face. She believed that the biggest issue that people collectively face is climate change, as she stated that greenhouse gases do not stop at borders.

Focusing on this issue, she discussed the fact that leaders from the EU and India have agreed to engage in missions and reach the goal of zero at a challenging timeline. She believed that the EU and India should consider trade and investment as a method to mitigate climate change as they are important to make supply chains green and more resilient. She examined the fact that trade and investments can help to mitigate climate change as they have always played an important role in the relationship between the EU and India. She stated facts to support her claims.

We have bilateral trade, which is close to 100 billion euros. EU investment in India today accounts for 11% of total investment flows into India.

Further, Ms. Renita Bhaskar explained the various initiatives the EU and India have undertaken to tackle the issues they face. One of the programs that the EU launched is the Green Deal, through which growth and jobs are achieved by protecting the environment and concentrating on sustainable patterns of production and consumption. Ms. Bhaskar wants the EU and India to harness more programs and improve their partnership in various areas, be it in water-resource efficiency, circular economy, or renewable energies. While she believed that there is a government-to-government element, it is the partnerships that have a bigger and wider impact on society and the economies. The reason for this is that they encourage people-to-people exchanges, discussions between academics and researchers, and prepare companies to cooperate.

She praised the fact that leaders from the EU and India have begun to deepen the relationship by resuming the negotiations for a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive, and mutually beneficial trade and investment agreement. She appreciated that the cooperation will help meet challenges related to the impact of Covid-19 also.

Recently, Indian Prime Minister Modi announced the establishment of the EU India Trade Technology Council. Ms. Bhaskar hopes to see the group deal with the opportunities that new technologies create and how those technologies can be used in the increasingly complex digital world and meet the challenges such as climate change. Seeing this, the EU and India have numerous other engagements that provide a wide range of opportunities to deepen and further strengthen the partnership. Accordingly, in the area of digital, Ms. Bhaskar stated that there is a joint task force on artificial intelligence. In addition, the EU and India have established research and collaboration on quantum and high-performance computing and have also launched an EU-India digital investment platform.

By discussing the challenges, the opportunities, and the current scenario, Ms. Renita Bhaskar provided an interesting overview of EU-India relations and the future of the relationship. She stated that the EU and India have the potential to do greater and better things. Untapped potential will help capitalize on the current geopolitical environment and seize opportunities to further strengthen commitments. She believes that the EU and India need to work together to be stronger and meet the challenges of the near future. She concluded by strongly claiming that the group of candidates selected in the under-40 leaders list will play a key role in helping nations tackle the challenges and bring much-needed change.

(Transcribed by Ms Vamika Mahesh. Ms Vamika Mahesh is a research fellow at Europe India Centre for Business and Industry)



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