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India and EU have potential for robust strategic engagement

At a time when the entire world is facing a serious socio-economic crisis arising out of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, a global solidarity and a combined response mechanism was the need of the hour. The 15th India-EU Summit has finally inked an agreement to undertake exactly this gigantic task even as both the European Union and India are deeply affected by the pandemic originating from China.

Nothing can be more relevant and urgent at this time than creating a mechanism for partnership in the areas of healthcare, research in the field of diagnostics, medicine and treatment and creating a funding methodology for all this and more. For many of the emerging economies as well as the economically constrained EU members, affordability of healthcare has become germane to their very existence. The Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of planning well in advance and foreseeing and creating effective preparedness as far as disruptive interventions and pandemics are concerned. The India-EU Summit has taken cognisance of this important aspect of governance and cooperation between countries and international institutions.

Disruptions in manufacturing and supply chain system have probably affected the normal conduct of trade and commerce between countries the most. Natural calamities and disasters are generally localised and short lived and hence supply chain disruption in such cases are manageable. In the present situation, trade and commercial transactions depending on wider global sourcing and demand fulfilment are the worst affected. This is felt even more strongly in the field of medical supplies and raw material of therapeutic nature. The joint press release by the leaders has taken note of this aspect and resolves to work together to mitigate problems arising out of such disruptions. As part of the process India will have to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to recognise the risk factors, identify and increase the prospective areas of trade, create efficient transport and communication network, improve technology and encourage and increase logistic providers.

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