Youth Forum on Foreign Policy, an independent and non-profit initiative that seeks to develop informed dialogue on foreign policy, conducted conference with European Union’s Delegation of EU to India on 23rd February as a part of their ongoing Embassy Dialogue Series. The conference was headed by Ms. Anna Marchal, First Counselor of Delegation of EU to India, Mr. Anurag Batra, Chairman of BW Business World and Mr. Gaurav Gogoi, Member if the Parliament and co-founder of YFFP.
The interaction started with Anna Marchal giving a presentation on What EU, how it came into being and what are the striking similarities between principles of EU and India. One such striking similarity is the motto of EU which is “United in diversity” which resonates with the India’s belief of unity in diversity. She also shed light on some major strategic alliances with India in fields of cyber security, Nuclear disarmament, Anti- terrorism treaties acknowledging the fact that India was amongst the first nations to recognize EU after WW2.
The discussion was then led by Mr. Batra; wherein he talked about the changing dynamics of EU union and it’s possible effects worldwide. He also voiced his concerns regarding several aspects of the EU and Indian relations that need immediate attention. One of which is the lack of demand for IT professionals in Europe. Whereas he also mentioned how the European Union wants India to deliver regarding intellectual property. He also said that India needs to lower its taxes on European imports mainly in wine and automobiles sector and can learn from the European countries in the field of Monuments preservation technology. He hoped that Both the states would strengthen their trade relations through more such open dialogues and move towards building more cohesive relationships benefitting both the states.
Next, Mr. Gogoi, the member of the Parliament from Assam and co-founder of Youth forum on foreign policy, and “Farm2Food” foundation, spoke about various issues related to the north-east states. He pointed out his concerns as to how t north-eastern states has less bargaining power in Delhi and why there are barriers regarding trade with some NE- States in forms of permits, sanctions, etc. He also praised EU for their commitment to providing most of the human aid contrary to Japanese who focuses more on infrastructure, helping India fighting poverty and strengthens its health infrastructure. Lastly, he shed light on the different stance taken on climate change as witnessed in the recent Paris Summit pointing out that EU has a highly progressive position and both the states need to co-operation to take on the imminent threat of Climate change.
In the end, the floor was open for questions from audience constituted majorly of students who questioned the prospects of EU’s interaction with the Indian state and how the benefits of those are going to be assimilated on the larger scale. The session ended with a vote of thanks followed by evening tea organized by the European Union’s team.