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Agreement on Scientific Cooperation Between India and EU

  • 17 Jul 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, India and the European Union (EU) agreed to renew the Agreement on Scientific Cooperation for the next five years (2020-2025) during the virtual 15th India-EU Summit.

European Union

  • European Union (EU), is an international organization comprising 27 European countries and governing common economic, social, and security policies.
  • The EU was created by the Maastricht Treaty, which entered into force on November 1, 1993.
  • The treaty was designed to enhance European political and economic integration by creating a single currency (the euro), a unified foreign and security policy, and common citizenship rights and by advancing cooperation in the areas of immigration, asylum, and judicial affairs.

Key Points

  • Renewal of Agreement on Scientific Cooperation:
    • India and the EU have agreed to further collaborate in research and innovation based on the principles of mutual benefit and reciprocity, as established in the India-EU Agreement on Science and Technology (2001) which expired on 17th May 2020.
    • Both parties are also committed to launch the renewal procedure for the above agreement and acknowledge 20 years of cooperation on research and innovation.
  • Significance:
    • It is expected to enhance research and innovation cooperation in different fields like Water, Energy, Healthcare, Agritech & Bioeconomy, Integrated Cyber-Physical Systems, Information and Communication Technologies, Nanotechnology, and clean technologies, etc.
    • It will also strengthen the institutional linkages in research, exchange of researchers, students, startups and attract co-investment of resources for co-generation of knowledge.
  • India-EU Science and Technology Cooperation:
    • Science and Technology: India-EU Science & Technology Steering Committee meets annually to review scientific cooperation.
      • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and the European Commission (EC) have established a Co-Funding Mechanism (CFM) to support joint research projects selected under European Research & Innovation Framework Program ‘Horizon 2020’ related to climate change and polar research.
    • Space Technology: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has had a long standing cooperation with the European Union, since the 1970s.
      • ISRO and the European Space Agency are working towards enhancing cooperation in earth observation. It also involves the Copernicus programme signed in 2018.
      • Copernicus is the European Union's Earth observation programme.

India-EU Relations

  • Evolution of Diplomatic Relations:
    • India being amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community in 1962.
    • The first India-EU Summit was held in Lisbon (Portugal) in 2000. Since then, fifteen annual bilateral Summits have been held between India and the EU.
    • The relationship was upgraded to a ‘Strategic Partnership’ during the 5th India-EU Summit held at the Hague (Netherlands) in 2004.
      • The bilateral Strategic Partnership encompasses dialogue mechanisms covering a wide range of issues including trade, energy security, science & research, non-proliferation and disarmament, counter terrorism, cyber security, counter-piracy, migration and mobility, etc.
  • Trade and Investment:
    • The EU as a whole was India’s largest trading partner while India was EU’s 9th largest trading partner in 2018.
    • India is also the fourth largest service exporter to the EU and the sixth largest destination for service exports from the EU.
    • EU is the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India.
      • Over the period April 2000 to June 2018, FDI equity flows from the EU countries into $ 90.7 billion, which is about 24% of the total FDI inflows to India.
      • Among countries, Singapore is the largest source of FDI in India during 2019 with $ 14.67 billion investment followed by Mauritius ($ 8.24 billion).
    • India and the EU are in the process of negotiating a bilateral Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) since 2007.

Way Forward

  • India and the EU are ideal partners to make a difference in an international environment that is increasingly shaped by strategic rivalry between the USA and China.
  • They have a common interest in avoiding a bipolarised world and developing the rules-based international order.
  • The effort has to be to make the India-EU partnership rise to its potential and provide a new model for international relations today.


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