India-EU Engagements - A Decade in Reflection and Way Forward

Equal Partnership approach to boost India-EU cooperation: Ambassador Bhaswati Mukherjee

December 07, 2019

December 6, 2019


Relations between India and European Union (EU) can be revived with the latter recognizing India as an equal partner based on knowledge and understanding of each other, said Former Ambassador Bhaswati Mukherjee. Inaugurating a two-day international conference on India-EU Engagements, the former Ambassador to the Netherlands said recognizing EU as a post-modern political entity by India and understanding its functioning could enhance cooperation just as EU should understand the sensitivity of the Asian societies while dealing with India. Academic institutes could play an important role in enhancing this understanding, she added.

She also expressed that the new EU commission has already shown interest in initiating dialogues with India for the next annual summit that may provide progress in the long-pending Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) work through in future. This would be beneficial not only to India that is facing an economic slowdown but also to Europe in coping with the growing manifold challenges, she added.

The Ambassador of European Union to India, Ambassador Ugo Astuto sent a note that congratulated Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) for leading European Studies in India and making its mark on European higher education map. Wishing success on the registration of Association of European Studies in India (AESI), he expressed that the Association would contribute to India-EU relations through capacity building and academic expertise in higher education.

In the inaugural address, Dr H Vinod Bhat, the Vice Chancellor of MAHE, recalled the opportunity that translated to a vision for excellence through MCES and stressed on the potential to achieve greater heights in the next ten years. Being the visionary behind MCES, he underscored the collateral benefits that the Centre brought in MAHE on strengthening its base in humanities and social sciences and also how Manipal Universal Press (MUP) was carved out with the EU funding to publish Indian philosophy translations.

Professor Helmut Brand, Director of Prasanna School of Public Health (PSPH) Manipal, who presided as the Guest of Honour expressed his gratitude to the Centre for the support and resources that helped in laying the foundation for the school of Public Health.

Professor Neeta Inamdar, the Head of MCES and the Convenor of the conference, in her welcome address reflected on the journey of ten years with the European Studies becoming a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and facilitating around hundred multilateral academic mobility. She reminisced on the difficulties and fond memories, while expressing gratitude to her colleagues, the University and Dr Bhat for the constant support and guidance.

The inauguration ceremony kick started the two-day international conference titled ‘India-EU Engagements: A Decade in Reflection and Way Forward’, commemorating ten years of the European Studies Centre in Manipal. Since its genesis in December 2009, MCES became the first Indian institution to get the recognition of a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in India-EU Interdisciplinary Studies under the Erasmus+ program of the European Union in 2018. The conference will provide a ground for academia interactions for students and faculty to deliberate contemplate on creating a pathway for forging further cooperation between India and EU.