Participants to the conference, a mix of diplomatic, security and academia experts, discussed issues of mutual strategic interests over four intense sessions, and in the process, grappled with a wide gamut of issues, including, among others, economic, sociological and geo-strategic dimensions of the bilateral relationship, aspects of stability in South Asia, the internal dynamics and their implications, and security challenges and possible implications for South Asian-European relations. Within the framework of the seminar, issues such as Af-Pak conundrum, politico-security situation in Myanmar, Beijing’s ‘Maritime Silk Road’, India-China maritime complexity, India’s security challenges, the energy security in South Asia, and the nuclear doctrine and deterrence in South Asia were also comprehensively discussed.
While the aim of the seminar was to develop a greater understanding of the common challenges faced by Europe and India, an effort was also made during the seminar to explore areas of potential cooperation between the two entities, especially in areas of energy, trade, security and counter-terrorism. Underlining the need for this seminar, General NC Vij, Director VIF, said while India has had excellent relations with individual European countries, India’s bilateral relationship with Europe as an entity is yet to take off in meaningful ways. He reiterated that the ‘Make in India’ resolve of the new government in India offers an opportunity to both India and Europe to reinvigorate their bilateral relationship, while Dr Klaus Lange, leader of the European delegation, said Europe and India need to join hands to ward off international marginalization. Dr. Klaus Lange was accompanied by two other experts - Come Carpentier De Gourdon, Convener Editorial Advisory Board, World Affairs and Mr. Cesare Onestini, Minister and Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to India.
With General NC Vij presiding over the conference, others who represented the VIF panel included, Lt. Gen RK Sahwney (VIF), Lt. Gen. Gautam Banerjee, (VIF), Brig Vinod Anand (VIF), Dr. Jagannath Panda (IDSA), Dr. Monika Chansoria (CLAWS), Lt. Gen. Ata Hasnain, former Corps Commander in Kashmir, Shakti Sinha, former officer at GoI and WB, UNMA in Afghanistan, Amb R Rajagopalan, and Madhu Nainan, journalist.