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European Union Commission and the Indo-Pacific Strategy

On 16th September 2021, the European Union Commission and the High representative adopted a joint communication for the Indo-Pacific region. The goal for this establishment is to have a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The Joint Communication contains concrete actions to reinforce the strategic engagement with the region, as tasked by the Council on 19 April 2021. The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, stated, “If Europe is to become a more active global player, it also needs to focus on the next generation of partnerships.” The EU seems determined to grow its existing relationships and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region and further cement these ties to finally emerge as a political, economic and security actor in the region. Presently, the strategy of the European Union is to move forward to build a better coordination and cooperation with likeminded countries in the Indo-Pacific to ensure its role and growing presence in the Indo-Pacific region. 

The European Union (EU) is building new digital partnership with countries like Japan, South Korea and Singapore with special focus on Artificial Intelligence. The Union is also focusing to complete the trade negotiations with Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand. The primary objective of this engagement with Indo-Pacific partners is to build more resilient and sustainable global value chains. The Union further wants to enhance their cooperation with Quad countries on areas like Climate change, technology and vaccines. There also has been great push towards strengthening India-EU partnership for digital technology. 

During the adoption of the policies for the region there has been discussion of establishment of “Maritime Areas of Interest in the Indo-Pacific” and engaging with partners in the region has been hinted at. The EU will aim to explore ways to ensure enhanced naval deployments by EU Member States to help protect the sea lines of communication and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific while boosting Indo-Pacific partners’ capacity to ensure maritime security. This will also bring together countries especially the one who are partners with EU to on one hand counter terrorism and cyber security while on the other to enhance their maritime security.
Further, the EU-India connectivity partnership will also change the dynamics of the relationship between the two. The increase in the joint efforts will help them to increase their significance and influence over the region. EU-India cooperation will be based upon the shared values of “democracy, freedom, rule of law, and respect for human rights” and operational principles of transparency, viability, inclusivity, and sustainability. The areas of cooperation identified within the framework of the partnership are digital, transport, energy, and people-to-people connectivity.