There is little doubt that in the post-pandemic world, China will face stiff resistance if it tries to expand its tentacles thanks to its role in birthing and propagating the virus. In a fresh blow to China, during the webinar with India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Portuguese Finance Minister Augusto Santos Silva stated that China is a “selective partner” and a “systemic rival” and the European Union favours India over China. It is pertinent to note that Portugal currently holds the Presidency of the European Union.
During the webinar with India’s S Jaishankar, Portuguese Finance Minister Augusto Santos Silva, said, “The way we see institutions, political fundamentals, human rights, the role of civil society is very different when you see from the point of view of Brussels or when you speak from the view of Beijing.”
He added, “That is why in these crucial areas, our partner in Asia is not China, but India.”
Meanwhile, EAM S Jaishankar stated that the relationship between India and the EU has registered remarkable progress.
The Rajya Sabha MP said, “We have crossed a threshold, we have seen more momentum more energy in the relationship.”
He added, “We had a very important virtual summit between PM Narendra Modi and all the EU leaders. We made some important decisions, one of them being the resumption of negotiations on trade and investment agreement.”
Make no mistake the fact that the Portuguese Foreign Minister terming India a partner in these issues is an indication from the European Union that it needs India’s help to keep China in check.
At a time when the EU-China treaty has been put on the backburner, India and the EU are currently negotiating a trade deal that will cause severe heartburn amidst the Chinese Communist Party.
In May, Union Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal wrote to his counterpart Valdis Dombrovskis to initiate the process for resumption of trade and investment negotiations which followed the decision in this regard at the India-EU Leaders’ Summit.
In 2013, after 16 rounds of discussion, the India-EU bilateral trade and investment agreement was suspended after being started in 2007. The decision to resume talks over the agreement is a significant one as India and the EU look to solidify their relationship to counter the threat posed by China.