GS Paper - 2 (Global Grouping)

India's profile is steadily increasing across Europe where several countries now see New Delhi as a reliable and dependable advocate of rules-based international order that can help counterbalance China’s influence. India is the only Asian country and one of three non-European countries along with the USA and Kenya to be invited for the 2021 Bled Strategic Forum (BSF).

What

  1. The Forum is an annual international conference held in Slovenia that has become a key forum of European foreign ministers. Slovenia is the current European Union (EU) chair.
  2. Several European countries are seeking wider Indian presence in the continent to balance China. It may be recalled that the EU has put trade and investment pact with China on hold while seeking to revive a proposed trade pact with India at the summit held earlier this year.
  3. Among the key themes that BSF will debate are China-led Belt and Road Initiative’s (BRI’s) utility in Europe, China’s sanctions against European individuals and businesses, and the need for the EU to devise a strategy for its position in a new geo-economic world.
  4. This year’s edition of the forum will also seek to bridge the East-West divide within Europe and the EU.
  5. It assumes significance as parts of Central and Eastern Europe are resisting Chinese moves in their zones. They are calling for resistance to what is being described as China’s “corrosive capital”.
  6. Hungary has the highest share of Chinese investment after Serbia in Eastern Europe and plans several new projects, including construction of a Fudan University campus in Budapest.
  7. Lithuania and Poland are trying to balance China’s influence.