Sebastian Paulo, “India-EU Cooperation in the SDG Era: Unlocking the Potential of a
Development Partnership in Transition”, February 2019, Observer Research Foundation.
This study assesses the development partnership between India and the European Union (EU) and makes recommendations for the next steps to move it forward for the period 2020–30. Based on a detailed analysis of the “what” (areas of cooperation), “where” (geographic scope) and “how” (forms of engagement) of cooperation, the monograph aims to inform strategic choices on the future direction of the partnership. Prospects for a global development partnership between India and the EU often meet with scepticism given differences in their respective approaches to development cooperation (“Northern aid versus South-South cooperation”). However, this perspective is too limited to grasp the full potential of the India-EU development partnership that is increasingly covering a more comprehensive range of actors, policies and means of implementation.
The comprehensive scope of this study shows the vast potential of the India–EU development partnership. However, cooperation depends on a realistic understanding of opportunities and limitations. As a coveted rising power, India’s capacity to enter and maintain a growing number of global development partnerships is limited. The India-EU development partnership must, therefore, demonstrate that it is not binding scarce capacity but adding new value. At the same time, a main theme emerging from this study is to not underestimate the potential of this partnership. India and the EU are too big to think small and have the combined political and economic weight to shift the Sustainable Development Goals decisively closer to their goalposts. Calibrating the right level of ambition for their development partnership, India and the EU can find more common ground, shedding limiting beliefs while keeping a pragmatic attitude that does not overstretch capabilities.
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