In 2022, India marks its 75th year of independence with the beginning of "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.” The programme symbolises India's socio-cultural, political, and economic identity, and diplomacy is an important aspect of the process. This year, India celebrates 60 years of friendship with the European Economic Community (now the European Union), and the two sides look forward to continuing their strong strategic partnership and increased collaboration.

In order to strengthen ties between India and the EU, on April 25, 2022, in New Delhi, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and President of the European Commission Ms. Ursula von der Leyen decided to establish the India-EU Trade and Technology Council. This strategic coordination framework is aimed at enabling both parties to address issues at the intersection of commerce, trusted technology, and security, deepening EU-India collaboration in these areas. As a result of their deliberations both, India and the EU, agreed that the fast changes in the geopolitical environment underline the importance of increased cooperation and push for in-depth strategic interaction. The Trade and Technology Council will be the primary body to provide the political leadership and structure required to operationalize political decisions, coordinate technical work, and report to the political level to ensure implementation and follow-up in areas critical to the long-term growth of the Indian and European economies.

For a long time, India and the EU have been trading partners. In 2020, trade was worth EUR 62.8 billion, making the EU India's third-largest trading partner. Furthermore, with 14 per cent of overall exports, the EU is the second-largest destination for Indian exports after the United States. Trade between India and the EU has been expanding at a rapid pace. Currently, almost 6,000 European firms operate in India, directly employing 1.7 million people and indirectly employing 5 million people across a wide range of industries.

Both sides' efforts are focused on contributing to the untapped potential of two-way commerce between the EU and India. Furthermore, the European Union realises and recognises the potential of the Indian IT sector, as well as the growth and reputation it has attained across the world. This partnership is also advantageous due to achievements achieved by EU nations and R&D that are going place in regard to creating technologies for the future world such as green hydrogen, AI, robots, and so on. Collaboration between India and the EU has the potential to be revolutionary since it will give a competitive advantage in terms of quality.

Even as both sides mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties, both are optimistic that their shared values and common interests provide a solid foundation for intensifying mutually beneficial and deepening strategic collaboration. India and the EU have had a close connection for decades and are eager to deepen collaborative efforts to handle contemporary problems and geopolitical situations. The decision to establish a Trade and Technology Council will be India's first with any of its partners, and the EU's second, following the first with the US. The establishment of the India-EU Trade and Technology Council is an important step toward stronger strategic cooperation for the benefit of all peoples in India and the EU. It will enhance and deepen bilateral cooperation with a focus on maintaining the rules-based global order, assisting with economic recovery, combating climate change, and navigating the digital revolution.

This is co-authored by Bhamini Rathore and Devika Chawla.

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