India still appears to be relatively uninterested in the EU as a political actor, reserving its most serious interest for trade and economic discussions where the European Commission holds sway.
40254, 09/09/2005 14:40, 05 NEWDELHI 6994, Embassy New Delhi, CONFIDENTIAL, 05 NEWDELHI 4226 | 05 NEWDELHI 6974,"This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NEW DELHI 006994
SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2015 TAGS: PREL, ETRD, EINV, KPKO, KDEM, KNNP, PHUM, IN, UK, EU, IR, GM, External Political Relations
SUBJECT: INDIA-EU,UK SUMMITS: THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY
REF: A. NEW DELHI 4226 B. NEW DELHI 6974
Classified By: A/DCM Geoff Pyatt for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
1. (U) Summary: Tony Blair wrapped up two days of EU and UK summits on September 8, leaving behind an EU-India joint action plan, British and European support for Indian ITER participation, a framework agreement on Galileo, and UK assent to increased civil nuclear cooperation. Trade representatives sparred over market access for Indian and EU products, but EU delegates emphasized the ""close coordination"" that India and the EU aim for on regional political matters like Sri Lanka and Nepal. Germany's EU-3 Iran point-person arrived in New Delhi for talks with MEA officials September 9. End Summary.
EU Strategic Partnership
2. (SBU) Manmohan Singh identified as ""the most important outcome"" of the September 7 EU discussions an (overly) comprehensive 21-page Joint Action Plan, intended to give meat to the year-old EU-India ""strategic relationship."" During the negotiation of this document, one EU diplomat described the process as an encounter between ""the world's two worst bureaucracies"" -- Brussels and the GOI. Calling India and the EU ""the largest democracies in the world,"" the plan restates a joint commitment to democracy, pluralism, human rights and the rule of law, and enshrines the ""fundamental importance of multilateralism"" in maintaining international security. Highlights of envisioned cooperation sifted from the plan include:
-- EU-SAARC exchanges on regional cooperation;
-- A commitment to seek ""initiatives to promote human rights and democracy;""
-- Consultation on peacekeeping, including ""exchange of trainees and instructors"" between peacekeeping training centers, reflecting the Italian-led COESPU initiative (Ref A);
-- Cooperation to reduce terrorist financing and money laundering;
-- A High-level Trade Group to increase bilateral economic ties;
-- Launch of an India-EU Initiative on Clean Development and Climate Change to include voluntary measures to promote cleaner technologies;
-- Creation of Energy Panel Working Groups in Energy Efficiency, Coal, and Fusion (including India's membership in ITER); -- Concluding a framework agreement for Indian participation in Galileo.
3. (U) Indian pundits focused on the EU backing of India's participation in ITER and the Galileo framework agreement as the most significant announcements of the summit. The agreement outlines steps for India to discuss details of the Galileo project and then decide on equity commitments. EU Commissioner for External Affairs Benita Ferrero Waldner stated that these steps recognized India's scientific capabilities, but reiterated the EU commitment to the NPT and urged ""all countries"" to join the treaty.
4. (U) The EU and India committed to establishing a security dialogue on disarmament, nonproliferation, and regional and global security issues. Waldner flagged EU and Indian plans to maintain contacts on regional affairs, including the shared commitment to restoration of democracy in Nepal, and her hope that further EU-India cooperation would help promote peace in Sri Lanka, given India's ""particular leverage."" Press questions to the PMs elicited further emphasis on coordinated counter-terrorism efforts, an aspect that Indian media attributed to Europe's recent terrorist attacks.
Trade Disputes Mar Bonhomie
5. (U) In contrast to the summit-level camaraderie, a business leaders' meeting featuring EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath became a forum to spar on accusations of protectionism. Mandelson complained that Indian tariffs on European food products (in particular alcohol) depressed trade, while Nath responded that EU non-tariff barriers posed an evolving obstacle to Indian exports including shrimp and herbal products. Nath complained that the hygiene regulations used to block shrimp were ""not in conformity"" with international standards, and were a disguise for ""ever-changing goalposts"" intended to protect domestic producers.
UK Offers Heightened Cooperation
6. (U) Blair's second day in India was devoted to a bilateral UK-India summit. Following their huddle in Udaipur, where terrorism was again a focus, Blair and Singh announced MOUs on enhanced cooperation in hydrocarbons, intellectual property rights, and airline services. Blair also unveiled a 10 million-pound fund to provide scholarships for Indian students to reverse the decline in the number of Indians studying in Britain. An anonymous GOI official reported to the press that Britain had ""agreed to follow Indian advice in the region,"" particularly on Nepal policy. Blair also reiterated the UK's ""strongest support"" for a permanent UNSC seat for India and affirmed the UK's decision to pursue civil nuclear cooperation.
EU3 and Iran: Germany's Turn
7. (C) Following hot on the heels of the EU summit, Germany's point-person on Iran nuclear negotiations, Michael Schaefer, visited New Delhi September 9 to hold talks with MEA Additional Secretary (International Security) Meera Shankar and Secretary (East) Rajiv Sikri. D/PolCouns and Poloff emphasized to German Embassy counterparts the importance of giving India the message that Iran should not be able to hide behind New Delhi's support to avoid accounting for its nuclear activities (Ref B).
Comment: India Rising, and Reaffirming its Values
8. (C) The EU-India accords in large measure echo the July 18 US-India joint statement and bilateral working groups, and reaffirm the global interest in India as a rising power. However, India still appears to be relatively uninterested in the EU as a political actor, reserving its most serious interest for trade and economic discussions where the European Commission holds sway. Even in the economic area, PM Singh publicly told PM Blair and his EU colleagues that India was increasingly looking to its economic future in regions other than Europe (Mission will report on economic results in greater detail septel). In political interactions, New Delhi continues to see the UK as the EU member most worth dealing with, and the broad Action Plan owes much to the UK Presidency. The reinforced commitments to democracy, good governance and human rights as shared principles of foreign policy articulated in the Action Plan will assist us as we enlist GOI support in efforts ranging from the Democracy Initiative to the Human Rights Council.
9. (U) Visit New Delhi's Classified Website: (http//www.state.sgov/p/sa/newdelhi)