Gavroche reproduces here excerpts from an interview given by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to Le Figaro at the end of the Ministerial Conference on the Indo-Pacific hosted by the French President of the European Union in Paris.
You are attending this conference on the Indo-Pacific in Paris. What do you attach to this meeting?
The fact that this conference is taking place is very important. For a long time, with the notable exception of France, most European countries had little or no involvement in the Indo-Pacific. things change. The EU now has an Indo-Pacific strategy, France, of course, but Germany and the Netherlands have as well. UK too. Europeans understand better that what happens in the Indo-Pacific worries them and that the world does not stop at the periphery of Europe.
What are your concerns about China in this area? How do you view the New Silk Roads initiative?
My concern is that international relations should respect the core principles. We all want international law, territorial integrity, national sovereignty and respect for the common people. We want some initiatives to be transparent, with no hidden motives. If Country A’s or Country B’s initiative respects these principles, that’s okay.
The European Union and India have been discussing a free trade agreement for fifteen years. When will it be completed?
A potential deal failed in 2013. Mr Modi came to power in 2014 and expressed interest in reviving talks, but the EU failed to respond. Until 2021, until the summit in Porto, there is hardly any discussion. A new energy and a certain sense of urgency are re-infused into this file. Free trade agreements, especially with the European Union, are very complex. We are interested in this because the European Union is our main trading partner.
The full interview can be read on Figaro’s website.
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