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ORF “In-Conversation” – External Affairs Minister and Portuguese Foreign Minister on the Future of India-EU relations (June 23, 2021)

June 23, 2021

Samir Saran: Good afternoon to all those who have joined from India and Good morning to our friends in Europe. We are delighted to have have you join us on this very special conversation with His Excellency Professor Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal and His Excellency Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India on the most relevant topic, future of India- EU relations. Your Excellencies, thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to be here with us. Professor Silva, Dr. Jaishankar greetings and a warm welcome to you.

Today we will take stock of the India-EU relationship, which two people who have provided a fresh impetus to this bilateral in last six months amidst the pandemic. Their efforts led to the leaders of the EU and its member states meeting with the Indian Prime Minister on the 8th of May in Portugal. This hybrid event was ambitious and noteworthy, and we will discuss its significance in today's conversation. This session is the final event in a series of India-EU discussions curated by ORF during the Portuguese presidency of the European Union. We've been working in close collaboration with the Embassy of Portugal in India, under the leadership of Ambassador Marques. We at ORF thank him and his team for this partnership and indeed, for his leadership. In the past months, we have called the discussions focusing on green transitions on the digital economy on our data rich world, all of which included deliberations on the socio economic challenge brought about by the pandemic and the economic recovery that the world is gearing up for. Some of these deliberations also inform the questions that we intend to pose to the two ministers this afternoon. Before we begin an announcement for those who have logged into our digital events platform, please do pose your questions for the two speakers on the chat window on your screen, and we will try and weave them into this conversation as we move along. I know 1000 plus of you have registered, so please let your pauses flow. With that let me move to the business end of this conversation and let me pose the first question to the Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar. Sir, the India-EU relationship has crossed a certain threshold clearly after the summit last year, in July. The Portuguese presidency played an important role in the success of this summit. There is a renewed impetus and a new energy relationship. And we saw bold outcomes in the India EU leaders meeting this May, particularly the decision to resume negotiations on trade and investments. Mr. Minister, what has changed in the recent past? What can we expect in the future? You have written about a new engagement framework between India and Western powers. How do these current developments into that framework that template that you wrote about in your own book most recently?

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: First of all, greetings to you Samir and it's very good to see my Portuguese colleague once again on the screen. But that's the best we can currently do. Look, I think it's been actually a remarkable six months in our relationship with the EU. And I would be less than honest if I didn't begin by really thanking the Portuguese presidency. And I'll tell you why. Because yes, we have crossed a threshold, we have seen more momentum, more energy. We've had a very important virtual summit between Prime Minister Modi and all the EU leaders. And we made some very important decisions. One is the resumption of the negotiations on the trade and investment agreement, which by the way, it's not a capricious, or I would even say a purely diplomatic decision, a lot of work went into it, we reached a stage , where we felt confident to do so. We have worked out a connectivity partnership. We have seen the EU actually engage much more with our part of the world, by today, looking very seriously at an Indo-Pacific outlook, if you would. And all of this, pulling it together, making it happen, I think a lot of the credit goes to the Portuguese presidency specifically to the gentleman with whom I'm sharing the screen. But I want you to step back and look not as Foreign Ministries or Foreign Ministers doing something. What does all of this mean? To me, it means what's happening today between India and you, that we are both looking for, in a sense, a new level of relationship, a new compact, was the word actually I have used in my book, which reflects a much more multipolar world, which means more power centres. It takes into account that the world was not what it was in, say, 2016. And by the way, neither was Europe, and neither is Asia. And, incidentally, some other continents, which is a far more rebalanced world, which is the relative weight of regions has shifted, that there is today a new agenda before us. You know, the EU has its agenda, which involves much greater engagement with Asia; we have ours, which really looks at you also from the prism of how this relationship can help national development. So if I were to say, look, a greener agenda, a more connectivity centred agenda, a more data focused agenda, a more tech driven agenda I think that's really what has changed. And in my view, somewhere, the new compact has to take all of this into account.

Samir Saran: What is all of this play out in light of two other developments? One is, of course, the rise of China, its influence in global affairs, its presence in various markets. And the second, a new administration in DC, what is President Biden's influence in many of these developments, which of course, include us and EU as well?

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: Look, the world has a context, the world is the world. I mean if some big change happens in one part of the world, how can other players and other regions not take that into their calculation. So there's no question that, especially in the last 10 years, but I would argue in the last 25 years, the rise of China has been one of the defining, shall I say, transformational trends. So it is something which everybody would take into account. It's very, very natural. In terms of what has been the role of the United States, specifically the Biden administration? It's interesting, I would say, I mean, it's been only six months but certainly, I think the Biden administration it seems to be very open to the assessment that the world is indeed multipolar that it sees many other countries and regions and blocks and groups, and that it's open to working with I think, our European friends would probably echo that assessment. And I think it also has a much more contemporary agenda. So for us, at least, I'm now talking India, I mean, we've actually seen our relationship with the US move forward in this six months, and move forward in a way in which I feel Europe would have an interest.

Samir Saran: Thank you, Mr. Minister. Let me now turn to the Foreign Minister of Portugal. Sir, you have written about it, most of us are aware of the fact that the oldest Indo-Pacific strategy belongs to the Portuguese from the 16th and 17th century. And, of course, we are also aware that over the last one and a half years, Portugal has worked very hard to put new life into the India-EU partnership. Squaring up your old historic links with the region how do you see this momentum go forward? What are the opportunities that you expect that will unfold in the coming days? What are the challenges? And how do you assess the India Portuguese partnership beyond your presidency and beyond the last summit?

Professor Augusto Santos Silva: So thank you very much. And first of all, thank you for the invitation to participate in this seminar. And my warm greetings to my dear friend, the Minister of India, Dr. Jaishankar, and thank you for all the work you have done in order to improve not only the bilateral relationship between Portugal and India, but also the bilateral relationship between European Union and India. You know, Portugal has a specific role to play, in my opinion, because we are at the same time, a European country, we belong to the European Union, but in a certain way, we are also positioning ourselves beyond Europe, because of our history, and because of the ties, we maintain, and we develop with Latin American countries, with Africa, with India, and then the major players in the current international situation. So I always say to my colleagues in Brussels that if you need a mediator, if you need someone that can at the same time speak with Latin Americans, or Africans, Indians, or Chinese, please use Portugal because Portugal is a European country that can do this mediation. As a European, my thinking is very simple. We live in a multipolar world, as the Indian minister just said, very rightly. And if we consider the global players in this multipolar world, you have the European Union, of course, you have Britain now, because Britain does not belong anymore to the European Union, but it belongs to Europe, where you have the United States, you have some regions that you have to treat this blocks. Africa is one example. And the African Union is a major partner of us. Latin America is another example. Asia, the Asian or the Southeast Asian, Southeast countries are another example. But then you have countries that value for themselves. There are in terms of demographics, in terms of economy, in terms of politics, global players as such, and one is India. And of course, we have others traditional allies of Europe in Asia, like Korea, or Japan, or Australia, New Zealand, and countries that, for Europe are at the same time partners, competitors and rivals like China. And our idea, our assessment as Portuguese was that European Union was paying less attention, that one it should pay to India. And this was not only the Portuguese assessment, because we are seeing the Americans preparing their strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, you are seeing the British improving their relations with the Indo-Pacific region. And we are seeing some individual member states of the European Union as the Netherlands or Germany, preparing their own national strategy. So we needed to focus this issue, also at European level. And this was the purpose of the leaders meeting that was held in virtual format in Porto last month. And the main results of the EU-India summit, were political, the resumption of a high level dialogue between the two largest democracies in the world, India and European Union. The improvement of sectorial partnerships that are very, very important, for instance, the connectivity partnership, and the reception of the economic negotiation, but as a Foreign Minister, our output politics at the first level, because we need to pay more attention to the Indo-Pacific regions in terms of security, in terms of freedom of navigation, in terms of economic relations. And for that we have to consider India as one of our closest partners. Thank you.

Samir Saran: Mr. Minister, there's a question from audience, General Deepak Kapoor, and he asks related to what you just mentioned. He asked what would be the EU's response to the very expensive Chinese behaviour in these sectors that are important for many of us. Now, you mentioned many individual countries and regions. Do you have a EU position on responding to China’s expansion? I think that's the question.

Professor Augusto Santos Silva: Yes, indeed. And we have two frameworks to address this new challenge, the European Union framework and the NATO framework. Beginning with NATO, NATO is a political military alliance between Europe and North America. And we just had the summit in Brussels this month. And we redefined our position towards China. We now consider that the rise of China, of course, opens some opportunities, but also puts a security challenge that we have to address. This is our official position; I think is a very balanced one. We are not seeing China as a threat. But we are seeing the rise of China as a challenge and the security challenge. So we have to look carefully to it, and of course, we have to look at together with the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, but also our partners in Asia, Japan, India, precisely, or Australia, New Zealand. So we have to look carefully, cautiously, because security matters were always tricky issues. But we have to address this new reality. From the point of view of the European Union, we have our relationship with China as a complex, multifaceted one, because in certain areas China is a close partner of us. If you think in terms of climate action, you cannot achieve the global targets of the Paris Agreement without the commitment, without the engagement with China. And by the way, also, of course, without engagement of India and other large countries. So we have to work with them and we are working with them. Then we are in a certain way selective partners, it means that in certain sectors, in certain areas, in certain issues, there is a cooperation that is a win win gain for both sides. If you think, for instance, certain technological developments, if you think for instance, and renewable energy and other domains, you can find these issues in which you can cooperate selectively in a win win basis. Then we are competitors, We are competing with China in Latin America, we are competing with China in Africa, and of course, our trade relations being rather unbalanced. We have to rebalance the trade relations of Europe to China. And then we are what we call systemic rivals because the way we see the institutions, the way we see the political fundamentals, the way you see human rights, the way you see the role of civil society is very different when you speak from the point of view of Brussels, or when you speak from the point of view of Beijing. And that's why in this crucial area, our partner in Asia is not China, our partner in Asia is India. Because on the contrary, our perspective on the political institutions is very close to the Indian one, it is the liberal democratic tradition. And so we have certain red lines. I would refer to three red lines in our relationship with China. We cannot be silent when there are violations of human rights, for instance, in the Xinxiang province, and we have to denounce it and we denounce it. Secondly, we cannot accept the squeezing of the Democratic space in Hong Kong. And third, we could not accept any change of the current status quo in the South China Sea and in relation to Taiwan. So we have to be very cautious, very prudent, but at the same time, very firm.

Samir Saran: Thank you Santos Silva. I'll come back to you on the politics a bit later. There are a few more questions that have come my way and I want to bring Dr. Jaishankar into this conversation as well. Dr. Jaishankar, connectivity is the new buzzword with several initiatives in the pipeline. What are the major pillars of the India-EU connectivity agreement? The pandemic has also made us aware of the importance of the digital. Are we planning to leverage, India and EU, planning to leverage digital connectivity and digital infrastructure through this new arrangement? And if we were to be positivist and optimist, can you envision India and EU actually coming up with a unique data economy proposition different to Americans, different to the Chinese, attractive to the Asians, attractive to Africans. Is there a space for the two of us to be ambitious when it comes to building a data proposition networks?

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: Samir, when you speak about connectivity, and we've just launched our connectivity partnership, I mean we are speaking of, of course, physical connectivity, which is normally how people tend to think of connectivity. Digital connectivity, which you have referred to energy connectivity and human connectivity. On the physical connectivity, I think the views of the EU broadly tally with the views of India, and India, in fact, laid out its views on the, you know, when it comes to the global debate on connectivity, three, four years ago, and it's been building on that sense, and we clearly do believe that connectivity if it has to be global, it should be transparent, it should be commercially viable, it should be environmentally friendly, it should be community responsive, if you would, it should not lead to debt burden. So there are broad principles and I think EU is pretty much in agreement with all of that. When it comes to the human connectivity, because that's not something which we get that much attention on, that's based on the assumption today, that a knowledge economy will require the flow of talent. And the more seamless we make that, we are actually helping ease of business, we are helping the growth of creativity in our respective societies. So we have this migration and mobility partnerships with different countries, we have done some agreements with some of the EU countries like France, we did one with a former EU country a few weeks ago. And it's something which we are looking at with a number of others and Portugal is one of them. Now, the digital connectivity bit which you raised, absolutely, I think that is very much in our minds. We are actually looking at a digital investment forum. We are looking at a taskforce on AI. But if I were to take a broader outlook, because you're really asking what is the convergence as the EU looks at the digital world and India does. I think there is fairly strong convergences here. Convergences about data security, cyber security and data privacy. I think, we are watching a lot of the interactions between the EU and global big tech with a lot of interest, because as you know, these are debates which have started up in our country as well. And when it comes to practical applications, it could be 5G, it could be post 5G, in fact, that is one of the areas also we have started to discuss beyond 5G. It's a natural, I would say, coming together. So I definitely see in connectivity as a whole. But digital connectivity, in particular, a fairly fertile area to be explored, and I'm very confident that you will see that happen in the coming days.

Samir Saran: Mr. Minister, you also focused on green, the green texture to our new relationship or the new direction of our relationship. How do you visualise greater engagement with the EU when it comes to responding to climate change, green investments, infrastructure. What are the tangible projects or propositions that are on the table today?

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: Well, it's a range of stuff. Obviously, it starts at the highest level with your outlook with your vision with your commitment to climate action. And as I am compelled to remind sometimes we are really perhaps one of the few G20 countries which have kept to the Paris targets so far. Now, there are important conversations to be had here, especially in the run up to COP 26. Because I think barring a few outliers, today, much of the world accepts the dangers posed by climate change. I think that debate, in many ways is behind us. The real issue is, so suddenly in India, no question, this government in particular has embraced climate action with a vigour and enthusiasm, which is second to none. Now, here's the issue, I mean we are not lacking in ambition, or in commitment. The question is, where do I get the resources and the capabilities to get me to actually realise those ambitions. And if you look at this whole domain, I mean, one of the persistent shortcomings there has been that there has been an over promise and the under delivery on the resources. So I know that there's a big debate today, on net zero, who all have to be net zero for the planet to be net zero, because obviously, everybody is not going to be net zero at the same time, but it's one thing to have a vision, a goal, a plan, even a desire to do that. But unless these are in parallel, there are equally realistic and practical conversation on where do you get the resources to get them. I hear sometimes prescriptions from other parts of the world. Now, they may apply in Europe. But you know, you can't take policy, which would be reflective of a European level of development, and then mechanically applied, say, to a society like India. So there are issues here to be talked about, I think it's important that this doesn't become a kind of ideological conversation. Climate change, is existential, nobody doubts that. But because it is existential, it cannot just be a matter of faith, it has to be a matter of programmes and resources and actions as well.

Samir Saran: Mr. Minister before I turn to Foreign Minister Silva, he used three terms, I just want to repeat them. He said, security challenge, he said, systemic rival, and he says, not a threat. Broadly, how would you assess China? These were the assessments coming from Portugal about the rise of China. How would you assess the rise of China on the global order in light of these three descriptions?

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: We come from different places, our situations are different. I'm a country which has a border with China. I have today a military, which is sort of right up there closely deployed against the Chinese military. So I think my situation is obviously very different from that of Europe. And I would articulate it in a way in which it suits my interests. And I think you've heard me articulate it fairly clearly in many of your earlier forums.

Samir Saran: Fair enough. I will not be able to provoke you into an answer this afternoon. So I will move on. Professor Silva, there are two questions for you from the audience. The first, of course, is on the Belt and road initiative and its presence in Europe. And both as EU and as Portugal how are you responding to? And the second question from Abhishek Kumar actually talks about the 17 plus one arrangement. The protests from Lithuania your position on that, and my question, my addition to that would be that, does China now have a permanent backdoor seat in the EU conversations? Is the 17 plus one, at the very least, a permanent Chinese position in European debates? And how do you see that? Sorry, I thought I'd just put that in.

Professor Augusto Santos Silva: So, first on the second question, Portugal is not participating, it is not a member of the 17 plus one group format, you know that 17 means 17 countries of the Central and Eastern Europe. Several of them are members of the European Union, and one being China, this is an informal gathering, we are not part of it. Our position is always the same, we don't participate in any other alliance with a non-European countries out of the European Framework. So we are part of the dialogue between European Union and China or of the dialogue between the European Union and India but we don't participate in any kind of internal smaller group that would establish closer or a specific ties with these partners of Europe. So we understand what was the purpose of this format, but we don't participate in it. Coming to the BRI, the Belt and the Road initiative. Well, it has and it still has some meaning some sense. It is the Chinese initiative from which many countries in Africa, in Asia and also in Europe have benefitted in terms of investing, of having resources to invest in infrastructure. The price these countries are paying is increasingly higher and this poses a problem. We, have our own strategy of connectivity with Asia, the so called Euro-Asian connectivity. And for instance, Portugal signed with China in 2018, memoranda of understanding, whose purpose was to establish cooperation between our own European strategy and the Belt and Road initiative. Now, things are moving and we are preparing at the G7 level, an alternative, I would not say an alternative but a new instrument that could favour the developing countries in their needs to invest in physical and digital infrastructures. So, the Belt & Road initiative has its own meaning which produces its own outcomes, we have to be very careful with the level of dependency that we can create vis a vis the other countries but the need we feel is this one, the Belt & Road road initiative cannot be your only initiative affordable for developing countries. So it is our responsibility as the European Union and as the so called north to provide other instruments, other forms of providing resources and knowhow for developing countries to develop their own infrastructures. The multipolar world is not a bipolar world. Minister Jaishankar in his initial intervention was very clear on this. We live in a multipolar world and I would say we prefer to live in a multipolar world with several global players. We don't think that the divide, the division of the world between two antagonistic atmospheres, the Chinese influence and the American influence is suitable or could be accepted. We need several major global players. And we need to understand that in order to achieve this, we also need to have several initiatives, we can use to improve our own capacities. And by the way, the connectivity partnership between European Union and India is another good example because one of the commitments of the two parties in this partnership is to work together with third countries, namely with African countries. So let's work in this sense, monopoly is not a good thing. We need several initiatives competing to each other.

Samir Saran: So, Mr. Minister, let me ask you on the connectivity issue. Sitting in India you see a disconnect in the EU, especially in one specific area, which is the Chinese tech and its presence across the continent. There are countries who have taken strong positions rejecting it. There are countries that are still encouraging Chinese presence in digital businesses. And unfortunately, technology sees no borders. One weak link weakens the entire system. So how do you see the EU position evolving and the Portugal position but I think Portugal is pretty much at the centre of this debate. How do you see the Portugal position vis a vis China tech and the proliferation of Chinese technologies, Dr. Jaishankar mentioned, 5G and certain other key partnerships. How do you see a tech future emerge where all of us can take a common position on managing risks? You mentioned a systemic rival, you mentioned security challenge. I think all of that plays in the digital sector more than anywhere else.

Professor Augusto Santos Silva: Well, I think the consensus is possible. And we need to be realistic and reasonable. And take the Portuguese example, we have good relations with China. Again, benefiting from history, we don't forget, and the Chinese don't forget that there was a Portuguese, the first navigator arriving by sea to China, in the 16th century, I mean, the first European to arrive by sea to China in the 16th century was a Portuguese navigator. And we have good relations with China, you know that there was an enclave, Macau Chinese territory that was under the Portuguese administration until the end of the 20th century. So, we have good relations with them, and there is Chinese capital in some Portuguese companies and the banking system and the insurance companies and also in our electrical utility, 20 something percent of the shares of our main electrical utility are coming from Chinese capital. And when we are launching our G5 tender, it's going on. And we were very clear that we don't distinguish technologies according to the nationality of their companies. So, in the peripheral area of the G5 network, companies can present bids independently of their nationality and independently of the nationality of their own preferred suppliers. But in the core system of the 5G network, there is a security issue, and because of the security issue the bits will be examined and assess it also by our security apparatus, in order to guarantee that 5G or other digital transformations, for instance, artificial intelligence, cannot be used to undermine Portuguese security, to undermine European security, or to take positions that could mean political control of individuals of the economies in Portugal and Europe, and we have a toolbox in Europe to provide these guarantees and we are following this toolbox. In the European case, there is also another issue to which Portugal is very attentive, because you know, that we are now speaking more and more of the building up a more autonomous Europe and to reindustrialize Europe and digital technologies are crucial domain in this. We have at least two major companies belonging to the European Union countries in the field of 5G, and of course, some of us are favouring these companies in order to have a much more stronger European position in this crucial field. So my answer was very long, sorry, but the idea is we have to be realistic, we have to be cooperative, but we have to pay crucial attention to our security needs and our security assessment.

Samir Saran: Thank you Mr. Minister. I am assured by your response that connecting to Portuguese networks will not mean that my data is insecure. So your answer actually provides comfort on that front. Mr. Minister, Dr. Jaishankar let me ask you the same question. You have seen the recent EU Council resolution on Indo Pacific region, you've also been interacting with your counterparts in the EU. And you've seen individual countries step up and be present in this particular maritime domain. You have also witnessed the G7. And in fact, you were there in one of the meetings as well. How do you assess the role of EU in the Indo Pacific? Are you convinced that Asia Pacific is 20th century and the 21st century is the Indo Pacific? Has that transition happened? Because it has political dimension as well, that changed from the terminology, it has different meanings. And how do you see EU becoming a key partner in some of your own initiatives, that you are invested into, in BIMSTEC, in the IORA and in certain other groupings in our periphery. How do you see EU become more prominent politically in your assessments?

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: Well, look, you're absolutely right. I think Asia Pacific is now an anachronistic term, it was the outcome of the Second World War, I think Indo-Pacific reflects the globalised world much more accurately a world where, you know, there is much greater seamlessness between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean, and many more players in both. Now, in terms of what has been the EU’s interest in the Indo Pacific, both EU as a collective and EU member states, states like Germany or France or Netherlands. I think we have seen growing interest and my sense of that growing interest and I am sure Augusto would speak for himself here, is a realisation in Europe that actually you can't have economic globalisation and be oblivious to its strategic consequences. So if today Europe is economically truly global, which it is, then its interests are not served by thinking strategically like a fortress Europe. In fact, that's been a critic of Europe for many years, and I think Europe is stepping out of it and is stepping out of it because obviously, there is an awareness that whether the Europe reaches out to the world or not, the world is going to reach out to Europe. So we do see more European awareness and engagement. So it's very practical, in fact, we've just done a first naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden with the EU, the naval force, Atlanta, we have European naval officers today, at our fusion centre, the Indian Ocean fusion centre that we have outside Delhi. We ourselves tap into initiative they have called Primario, which has the critical maritime routes in the Indian Ocean. So there's already some history of working both with individual countries and collectively. So my point is that if we understand fully the interdependence, and the interpenetration, which is a characteristic of this world, the new agenda that I spoke to you about, connectivity, data, technology, even the climate challenge, all of this is going to require us to work together more closely. And I'm now taking off on your previous question to me, we are in, we meaning India, we are a market economy, we are a political democracy, we are a pluralistic society. Now naturally, there is a greater comfort with other players who are the same. So, what the Portuguese minister said that the progress that we made this year, and most of all is political. Its political, it is strategic. I think that's really the change which I would like you and your listeners to fully comprehend.

Samir Saran: Mr. Minister, in fact, this question is to you both the Ministers. We recently experienced and we are grateful for the support of the EU and EU member states during the second wave in Delhi and other parts of India, so thank you for your support. But we have also seen in differences over the TRIPS waiver. We have seen the proposal by India and South Africa, not accepted by the EU, specifically. So my question would be to both of you, one is fundamental, one is more specific. The specific question to Mr. Silva, what did the Portuguese do and the European do on creating equitable vaccine distribution framework? How can we talk about fighting together on issues like climate change, when we can't even work together to give vaccines to all. So is it a demonstration project for, delivering global public goods, giving vaccines to everyone, and how can we work together. This is a specific question. The second question to Dr. Jaishankar, is this fundamentally the key difference between EU and India? Is this the difference in our individual assessments of globalisation? Is this where we fundamentally differ, where we believe intellectual property may be shared vis a vis the IPR that some Western democracies have gotten accustomed to. So there's a specific question to you, Professor Silva, on equity around vaccine distribution, can we create a global model so that it can allow us to fight other challenges of the future?

Professor Augusto Santos Silva: Thank you very much. And first, I have to say that this is an ongoing debate within the European Union. Philosophically, we are in favour of intellectual property rights. And we think it's very important to preserve them. Because by now, it is already clear that new variants, new mutations, new strains will rise from the pandemic, we have to prepare for the next pandemic. And we need to keep the capacity of our ecosystem, of science and innovation and the industry related to the production of vaccines and intellectual property rights are key for this, philosophically. So we think that wavering the temporary suspension of intellectual rights is a last resource solution. But we are discussing it within the European Union, because there are different views as always, and that we try to converge to a common position. Secondly, we see that immediately, we need to do more in other fields. In our assessment, the bottleneck, the existing bottleneck, is in the production facilities. So the last decision that we have taken was to invest 1 million of euros in production facilities in Africa. And perhaps we will do the same or a similar step forward concerning Latin America, we need to force to improve our production capacity, because the existing one is not enough to provide the universal vaccination. And third, more political and in a certain way, ironic one, we are still waiting for the American proposal, because the secretary of trade, trade secretary of the United States was very clear some, perhaps two months ago, saying that United States was in favour of a temporary wavering of patents. But still, at least as far as I know, no concrete proposal was already presented in the right framework that will do we have the Indian and South African proposal and we are discussing it within the WTO. But it would be very interesting that the American proposal could be much more concrete. Thank you.

Samir Saran: Thank you. Can I turn to Dr. Jaishankar, for his response to this.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: Well, when we and the South Africans brought up this proposal, I mean, obviously we were here speaking for the larger global South. But we do believe that others share that interest, share that thinking so I mean, I would say, the global South I hope we'll be joined by the enlightened North on this matter, and we can see some signs of it. I mean, when I was at the G7 Plus four foreign ministers meeting in London, we had a position which was articulated by the Americans. And as we've heard from Professor Santos Silva, there are ongoing EU conversations, not everybody in the EU has the same position, some are more forward leaning, some are less, but I would make two points here. One, that without dramatically raising production levels, we are not going to be able to deal with this problem, not at the current production level. So we'll have to see what are the preconditions to dramatically raise production levels. And the second, which is that the Europe is absolutely key to solving this problem, not just due to IPR, but also, because a lot of the supply chains go through Europe. And this is, by the way, also a conversation that we've been having, with the people in Brussels and with some other national capitals, as well. So I would hope very much that considering this is a last resort, I mean this is a calamity of a kind that none of us could even think about. So I think it does meet a kind of last resort standard. And I think it's very much in that mode of thought that we have made the proposal.

Samir Saran: And specific question around, is this difference in how we view globalisation? Is there a fundamental difference in how we view globalisation?

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: As I said, there are countries even in Europe whose views are not that different. So I think you're trying to make it very black and white between Europe and India. And what we have done in the last six months show the world is not black and white, that we have a lot of convergences, and I'm very sure we will converge on this issue too.

Samir Saran: Perfect. I think this brings me last questions I want to place before both you again, and we can start with you Professor Silva and then I will turn to the Minister from India. The question is that many of the 20th century arrangements that have allowed us to operate as a global world, a product of conversations between DC and London, DC and Berlin, DC and Paris, in EU and Washington more recently. The transatlantic partnership proposed their norms, the codes, the laws, the frameworks, that all of us, in many ways, subscribe to or partially subscribed to. Do you think there is a possibility of India and EU beginning to do some of that in this century, proposing norms and codes for the digital world, creating a framework of financial flows for the climate response that we want that we seek, putting together a vaccine and a pandemic Global Health Surveillance System to create an early warning signs for us? Do you think we are reaching that point where both of us trust each other enough, ambitious enough in the relationship to become the shapers of our global future rather than takers of someone else's efforts? So Professor Silva, India and EU as partners, shaping the future of the 21st century. How ambitious are you, as you finish your presidency and hand over to Slovenia?

Professor Augusto Santos Silva: Thank you very much. And let me speak very frankly, that's my method. There is one single division that we cannot overcome. You love cricket. We don't understand what cricket is. Every other issue is manageable. But you can convince us of the beauty of the cricket and of course, we will convince you the beauty of football. But we need this relationship as my colleague and friend just said, it's very important to emphasise that this is a political decision, the decision to upgrade the dialogue between the European Union and India as of course, a very important economic dimension, but it is broader. It is politics, it is the need that the two largest democracies in the world improve their political dialogue and their political cooperation. And this means economy, security, maritime security, the defence of democratic institutions to appreciate the social pluralism and so on. But from a Portuguese point of view, I would say that we cannot reduce this dialogue to European Union and India. I need at least a triangle. European Union, of course, India as a major player, perhaps you know, that Portugal's position on the reform of the Security Council of the United Nations is very clear, we defined that we need to update the composition of the Security Council and in order to do so, we would have to consider us permanent members, Brazil, an African country and India. But we need another way, another side of the triangle, that is our anglo saxonic partners, we need to do this together with the Americans and British. When I speak of Americans, I speak of the United States and of course, Canada. But you know, this triangulation is very important. We Europeans, we need to have the British and Americans on our side, when dealing with the Indo Pacific region and in this Indo Pacific region, in a very specific way, with this major global player that is India now and India will be more and more in the future.

Samir Saran: Dr. Jaishankar, over to you for your final words, how ambitious are you and what is your expectation?

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: You know I'd actually like to take off on that point because let's go back to your question, a lot of the norms of the world today, arrangements for the world where conversations across the Atlantic, with a stopover in the UK. But if you see the three parts, which Professor Santos Silva laid out, they constitute the democratic world to a large measure. There are a number of democratic countries in Africa and Asia and Latin America as well. Now the point I would make is one of the reasons why we think of democratic values as universal or near universal or as the norm is the fact that India chose the democratic path. It is India's choices starting 1947 validated over many decades thereafter, and which in many ways took it as an organisational principle and the world view beyond the developed North. So, I think, yes, it's important for exactly the parties, which my Portuguese colleague identified to sit and work together definitely. Well, but there is a case for a larger conversation. But there is also a case for a different conversation. You know, it should not be a conversation because you know it's funny. I think today, governments and bureaucracies and policymakers are much more cognizant of the change in the world when we speak or multipolarity, and rebalancing then, for example, the media. I think tanks presumably, are somewhere in between. So we need not just more conversations, we need more balanced conversations, we need to know how does it work here and how does it work there, not that it works here and therefore, you do it the way I do it. So, I would therefore, argue, in fact, I have argued in my book saying that it's time for India and the West and I realised the West is today a very diverse West. West itself is multipolar in some ways. India and the West need to sit down and have a conversation to reach a different compact.

Samir Saran: I think that's a good way to end the session. There is a need for a new compact and I congratulate Professor Silva and the Portuguese for the presidency of the EU and putting new energy and direction to the bilateral relationship. I have always written and spoken about the fact that Dr. Jaishankar is perhaps the first foreign minister in India who recognises the centrality and importance of Brussels in our future. And he continues to invest in the bilateral, which is quite visible. And I hope that between these two fine lines and many others in the EU and an Indian thinking space, we will be able to respond to the three big challenges of our times, health and the pandemic, the digital societies that are on us, and of course, the changing world order and the changing rules of the game, in fact, the changing game itself that all of us will have to play very soon. I would opt for football, any day over cricket, if I can get to see your superstars in New Delhi. So till such time thank you for joining us for this conversation with the two eminent Ministers and keep tuning into ORF for our other conversations in the days ahead. Thank you very much.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, EAM: Thank you.

Professor Augusto Santos Silva: Thank you and stay healthy.

Samir Saran: Thank you.

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