EU to offer India more military hardware to distance it from Russia
Brussels is seemingly trying to encourage India to minimize its connections with Russia amid the Ukraine war.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be offered a boost in purchases of EU-made weapons to New Delhi by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, according to Reuters, which cited an unnamed senior EU official.
Brussels is seemingly trying to encourage India to minimize its connections with Russia amid Ukraine's war.
von der Leyen is also expected to discuss resuming talks on a free trade agreement between India and the bloc. Her main purpose is to ward India off its long-standing partner, Russia, the report claims.
“There are a whole host of Western leaders reaching out to India right now to see what alternatives we can provide,” 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.”
India and the EU have been holding talks on starting a free trade agreement off and on for years, but they were suspended in 2013 for a few problems related to tariff reduction and patent protection issues and restarted in 2021.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited his Indian counterpart and offered to boost defense cooperation between the two countries, with a possible free trade deal.
Among other things, Johnson pledged that his country would support India in creating its own fighter jets and promised to issue an India-specific open general export license to minimize delivery times for defense items destined for India.
However, he acknowledged that it is unlikely New Delhi would turn its back on Moscow in the near future.
While calling for a resolution to the military conflict in Ukraine, India has stopped short of imposing sanctions or directly denouncing Moscow’s actions.
India, Russia have a very different relationship
Downing Street said the visit would yield new partnerships on defense, artificial intelligence, and green energy, along with investment deals in areas including robotics, electric vehicles, and satellite launches.
India, meanwhile, has refused openly to condemn the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, reliant as it is on Russian imports of energy, agricultural goods, and military hardware.
"India and Russia have historically a very different relationship, perhaps than Russia and the UK have had over the last couple of decades," Johnson said.
"We have to reflect that reality, but clearly I'll be talking about it to Narendra Modi," he added.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss came away from New Delhi empty-handed last month when she pressed the Indians to do more against Russia, and Modi has also ignored appeals from US President Joe Biden.