The Ambassador invited the students, researchers and faculty to take full advantage of the various opportunities available under EU-funded programmes for higher education and research such as Erasmus+, Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions, the Jean Monnet programme and Horizon 2020.
Speaking at “EU Day” organised by the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies at the SP Pune University, the Ambassador said the EU and India, both dynamic democracies with a bilateral relationship going back 55 years, are implementing a Strategic Partnership based on shared principles and the common values of democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law. This partnership, elaborated under a Joint Action Plan, agreed in 2005 and updated in 2008, was taken forward by the Agenda for Action 2020 agreed at the Summit held in Brussels in 2016. The latest Summit in October 2017 has given depth and direction to this process through a wide ranging joint statement which covers deepening trade cooperation, enhancing investment flows in both directions, and broadening dialogue and engagement on global and regional issues, including climate change and migration. Joint statements on combatting terrorism; clean energy and climate change, and smart and sustainable urbanization, were adopted at the summit.
The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 13.7% of India’s overall trade, ahead of China (11%) and the United States (9.6%). The EU is the second largest investor in India (after Mauritius), with an investment stock valued at €51.2 billion in 2015, and is the primary destination for Indian foreign investment.
Ms. Friederike Tschampa, Head of Political Section, at the Delegation of the European Union, giving a presentation on the “European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy: Challenges and Opportunities” gave a detailed account of the evolution of the foreign and security policy, the developments since the launch of the EU’s global strategy on CFSP since last year, and how the EU and India have been steadily enhancing their bilateral cooperation in this field. There was a panel discussion on the same topic in which Air Marshal (retd.) Bhushan Gokhale, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) A. L. Chavan, Lt. Gen. (retd.) D.B. Shekatkar, Dr Srinivas Sohoni and Prof Shrikant Paranjpe participated. The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nitin Karmalkar, gave the welcome address. Prof Vijay Khare, Director of the International Centre of the SPPU, welcomed the guests.
As part of the EU Day presentations were made on the European Union’s programmes in the field of higher education and research. The students were especially interested in the EU’s scholarship programme, Erasmus+, under which more than 5300 Indian students have received scholarships over the last several years. In the last 3 years alone, about 1,300 students have received full scholarships, 120 Indian universities have been involved in active exchange programmes, and around 100 in joint master programmes or capacity-building projects.