Date: Feb 02, 2023
Between the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific: An India - EU Conversation

The Republic of India is a major political, economic, and security actor in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific concept is intrinsically tied to the South Asian subcontinent. First conceptualised by the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the vision of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific” benefitted from India’s indispensable input. In light of recent geopolitical developments, India's vision for the Indo-Pacific has direct implications for the Euro- Atlantic.

In Europe and the U.S., the Indo-Pacific is largely understood as equivalent to the Euro- Atlantic concept in a different geographical area: an expression of collective defence of shared values extending beyond the (North) Atlantic. Where Russia (like the Soviet Union before it) presents a threat to democracies primarily in the Euro-Atlantic, The People's Republic of China is seen as an analogous challenge in the Indo-Pacific. Different as the two powers may be, they are both seen as challenging the current international order.

At the same time, India’s approach to Russia seems somewhat different to that of its democratic allies, including those in the Indo-Pacific itself (i.e. Japan and Australia). This has baffled some observers, especially in relation to the war in Ukraine. India’s voting pattern in the UN and its affiliated agencies has also on occasion diverged from other democracies.

As one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, India has historically enjoyed cooperative relations with the USSR, and then with the Russian Federation. Currently, it is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the BRICS, which include both Russia and China. India has been pursuing independent, non-aligned foreign policy since its independence - is this policy now facing a challenge from the newly (re)emerging bipolarity?

The event aims to present India’s position vis-à-vis the Indo-Pacific region and the ensuing implications for the Euro-Atlantic. This online panel of eminent experts will discuss the following questions: How do Indian foreign policy thinkers view India’s role in the rapidly changing international environment? What exactly is India’s stance on Russia and China, and on the looming return of bloc politics? What are the similarities and differences between the Indian view of the Indo- Pacific and that of its democratic allies