Book Review: The European Union and India: Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership? by Pascaline Winand, Marika Vicziany, and Poonam Datar.

AuthorCruz, Jose de Arimateia da
PositionBook review

Winand, Pascaline, Marika Vicziany, and Poonam Datar. The European Union and India: Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership? Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015. xiv + 373 pages. Hardcover, $150.00.

The European Union (EU) and India have what the authors call a "special relationship." There has been much enthusiasm regarding this relationship which dates back to the early 1960s when India was one of the ten countries that the European Union had chosen as a strategic partner in the international community (The European Union and India, Solana, 2014). India is an obvious strategic partner for the EU given that India is the most populous democracy in the world and one of the emerging powers in South Asia. The Joint Political Statement of 1993 and the 1994 Co-operation Agreement, which is the current legislative framework for cooperation between the EU and India, opened the door to a broad political dialogue which evolves through annual Summits, regular ministerial meetings, and expert level conferences.

Despite several EU and Indian economic cooperation agreements, the asymmetrical economic relationship has created much friction between the two partners. For example, as Solana (2014) explains, the EU and India have been working on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for the past seven years and even after twelve rounds of negotiations a conclusion to the FTA remains elusive. In many areas, such as the IT industry and agriculture, the partnership holds great potential, but has not yet delivered as expected (Solana, 2014). Therefore, EU-India relations today "seem to be long on agreements but short on implementation" (p. 177).

This multi-disciplinary book provides a comprehensive analysis of the EU-India relationship from 1950 to the present day, as a way of assessing whether a meaningful and sustainable relationship is in fact emerging and whether it will play a role in the future of international diplomacy and business. Using both historical insights and contemporary policy analysis, the professors investigate whether the social, economic and political interests of the EU and India are genuinely compatible. Leaders in both regions have been promoting the relationship for many decades, but the authors scrutinize their words to discover whether they are merely rhetorical gestures or reflect genuine complementarities. They also investigate the motivation behind the relationship, and provide an in-depth analysis of the areas of mutual interest and...

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