Narendra Modi has been roaming the planet and has proven to have a real gift for international showmanship. But one part of the world that has, so far, been missing from his itinerary has been Europe.

Joao Cravinho, the European Union ambassador, held a press briefing this week and underlined the degree of neglect Brussels has experienced from the new Modi government.

The India-European Union free trade agreement, almost 95 per cent done, is awaiting the last mile of negotiations. Three quarters of a year in office, however, the new Indian government has not held a single meeting with the EU about whether they want to animate or bury the talks. Cravinho said he hoped that the EU would get word sometime in the next few weeks about what New Delhi wanted to do.

Somewhat strange given that, as he noted, the EU remains India’s single largest source of foreign investment, single largest trade partner and probably largest recipient of outward Indian foreign investment. Mind you, New Delhi had some reason to delay as the entire Brussels leadership was recently changed. Modi did meet the outgoing President of the European Council, Herman von Rompuy, at the G-20 summit long enough to master the pronunciation of each other’s names.

Of course, if you subtract the United Kingdom from this equation, the number for the rest of Europe plummets. Take out Germany as well and it is just a few billions here and there.

The lack of Indian engagement on climate change, the Holy Grail of European diplomacy, with Brussels is telling as well. Japan and the United States figure more in India’s climate change policy than Europe does. On Ukraine the two sides don’t even waste time talking to each other. Cravinho did say India could tell Russia that it was doing bad things in Ukraine, but it was for form’s sake.

One measure of the importance that Europe in the Modi worldview is the Indian foreign ministry’s recent 116-page e-book on the new government’s foreign policy, “Breakthrough Diplomacy

which gives all of two pages to Europe as a whole (with Minister of State V.K. Singh’s visit to Slovenia as one of the high points), plus two pages each to the UK and Germany. The Indian diaspora gets 12 pages and Africa, which Modi has also yet to visit, 14 pages in comparison.

Of course this will change to some extent. Modi will go to Germany and probably France in April. The UK will get a place on the itinerary in the later half of this year.

Cravinho was also certain that the Indo-EU summit would also be held sometime this year. Hopefully.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

The new US ambassador to India, Rich Verma, speaking at the Vivekananda Foundation, noted how India and the US now even have a joint working group on carrier technology. Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

It has not escaped notice that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s many perambulations around the world have, so far, ignored Europe – if refueling stops for his aircraft are ignored. Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

What did the Arab Spring teach us about popular protest? How little, even today, we understand the mechanics of political protest. Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shocked the international system when his government blackmailed the Doha round of the World Trade Organisation by saying, in effect, “give us a permanent food security solution or we will block the unrelated trade facilitation agreement (TFA).” Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

Scotch succession seems particularly peculiar to most outsiders because the supposed grievances of the Scottish nationalists are so, on examination, meager. Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 1 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

Many Indians ask me how India can avoid a bloody nose if it cozies up to Japan. Some were surprised when Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced some unname Asian country’s “expansionist” ways and said the continent could not have “18th century” ways of behaviour. “How can he expect China not to react badly?” I was asked. Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 3.75 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

Though the world was quite shocked, India’s decision to hold the World Trade Organisation’s trade facilitation agreement to ransom was not a complete surprise. Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

The creation of a BRICS bank, or New Development Bank as it is likely to be named, deserves only minimal applause from India. And the creation of a BRICS Contingency Reserve Fund deserves to be met with severe concern. Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

Asia-Pacific is geopolitical shorthand these days for Sino-Japanese. At least that’s the impression I got while attending the 26th Asia-Pacific Roundtable of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Read more

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...