The European Commission president’s ongoing visit to New Delhi reportedly aims to woo the country away from Russia
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, will give Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister, a boost in weapons sales to New Delhi, Reuters reported. Brussels is supposedly seeking to encourage India to reduce its ties to Russia amid the Kremlin’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine.
According to Reuters Von der Leyen may also talk about the resumption negotiations on a free-trade agreement between India and the bloc. According to the report, India’s long-standing economic and military partner Russia is the main goal of the chief of the European Commission.
“Many Western leaders have reached out to India in an effort to offer them alternatives.” the unnamed EU official told Reuters. “The key is that we want to bring forward this relationship, work on technology together and bring India into our camp, that’s the main message of our visit.”
For years, India and the EU had been in talks about establishing free trade agreements. After hitting a roadblock over patent protection and tariff reduction, the negotiations were stopped in 2013.
Boris Johnson (the UK Prime Minister) visited Modi in India last week. He offered to boost defense cooperation between the two countries to Modi, with a potential free trade deal also high on the two leaders’ agendas.
Johnson pledged, among others, that Britain would help India build its fighter jets. Johnson also pledged to issue an India-specific general export licence to speed up delivery of defense products destined for India.
However, the UK Prime Minister acknowledged that India is unlikely to turn its back against Russia in the near future.
While calling for a peaceful resolution to the military conflict in Ukraine, India has stopped short of directly condemning Russia’s actions or imposing sanctions.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols that were negotiated by the French was intended to provide special status for the Ukrainian breakaway areas. In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine be declared neutral in order to avoid being part of NATO’s US-led military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.