Cablegate: India-Eu Summit Preview
OO RUEHAG RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV
DE RUEHNE #2591/01 2701254
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261254Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3594
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7050
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 5319
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2808
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5801
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 3572
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 2815
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 2632
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NEW DELHI 002591
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/26/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL KNNP ETRD ENRG EAIR PHUM SENV TRGY
TSPA, FR, IN
SUBJECT: INDIA-EU SUMMIT PREVIEW NEW DELHI 00002591 001.2 OF 003
Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Les Viguerie for reasons 1.4( B and D).
1. (C) Summary. On September 29 and 30 Prime Minister Singh will travel to Marseilles for the ninth India-EU summit. While neither GOI nor EU interlocutors have expectations of big deliverables out of the summit, the two sides will deliver two declarations: one highlighting progress made in the India-EU Joint Action Plan, another on climate change. Progress on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the EU will be highlighted, and EU colleagues here expressed hope to finalize a Civil Aviation Agreement. The EU also hopes to host productive political discussions on international and regional issues, including the threat of terrorism. Bilateral meetings may steal the summit's thunder, as France and India are likely to sign their own, bilateral, nuclear cooperation agreement on September 30, which would become operational once Indi signs its IAEA Safeguards Agreement. End Summary.
2. (C) The summit will produce a progress report on the FTA. Christophe Manet (Counselor for Political Affairs) and Anne Vaugier-Chatterjee (Attach, Political Affairs), of the European Union (EU) delegation to India, told PolOffs that the FTA negotiations have advanced greatly after a positive fifth round. The results of the fifth round will be reviewed at the summit and at the next round of negotiations in October the EU and India will exchange requirements for improvement of the agreement. Manet said that the framework of rules for the FTA has already been agreed upon. He added that India's FTA with ASEAN was a good sign for progress on the India-EU FTA, as it shows that India has embraced free trade and identified the internal paths through which to implement it. Political Counselor Guillaume Bazard of the French Embassy, like his EU colleagues, felt that the framework of the FTA has been agreed upon but details, such as proper procurement rules in line with international standards, must be hammered out. He said the procurement rules are a sticking point for the EU but India does not want to discuss them, and considers them ""out of bounds.""
3. (C) Bazard told PolOff that the EU anticipates signing an India-EU civil aviation pact during the summit. According to Manet, this will not be a complete ""open skies"" agreement but will offer similar benefits like mutualization of landing rights and the possibility of code shares between airlines. Manet called the agreement a ""complicated"" combination of bilateral and EU agreements that he predicts will result in ""huge market liberalization."" Manet lamented the current low numbers of tourists in India, pointing out that even Tunisia receives more each year than India, and hoped that this agreement would open India up to greater benefit from the tourism industry.
4. (C) Climate change will be a hot topic for the EU at the summit, as it hopes to come out of negotiations with a signed ""working program on clean energy and climate change"" (Working Program). Manet explained that the EU anticipates producing a general information sheet on the Working Program after the summit. It will include information on programs in fields like solar energy, where Manet reported India is eager to cooperate. Manet said that the EU will also consider an ""annex"" to the general sheet to list sensitive areas of cooperation, like measuring glacial retreat, which India does not want to publicize. The Working Program is ""to check against delivery,"" said Manet. Bazard was confident that the Working Program would come through in some form, and said that the content is flexible as long as it ""does something to help."" Manet and Bazard separately expressed optimism that a 300 million Euro European Investment Bank (EIB) framework loan to the Export-Import Bank of India for investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency would be finalized at the summit. Manet told PolOff that a second EIB loan to the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), worth 150 million Euros for research on renewable energy and energy efficiency, will probably be scrapped because the GOI objects NEW DELHI 00002591 002 OF 003 to specific conditions that require a state guarantee.
Joint Action Plan
5. (C) According to Bazard, a revised India-EU Joint Action Plan (JAP) is up for discussion at the September summit. Bazard says it is shortened and includes a retrospective on India-EU progress and a list of practical working points. Manet told PolOff that no major changes are expected in the JAP and the retrospective, or ""balance sheet,"" will reflect ""very good progress over the last five years of cooperation."" Manet noted the working points will cover over 40 sub sectors of cooperation including peace building, terrorism, energy, clean coal, food security and human rights. Manet said the EU is mostly happy with the JAP but needs it to provide a firmer legal framework. The JAP is an EC document, he said, but about half of the projects it covers are EU issues. This causes difficulty for member states in implementing programs and projects. Manet added that when significant changes are eventually made to the JAP, the EU will likely push for long term commitments from India on issues like terrorism and human rights, similar to commitments made by other countries entering into similar agreements with the EU. India is resistant to these commitments, he said. Professor (European Studies) Umma Bava of Jawaharlal Nehru University told PolOff that the JAP ""is a large wish list, and by having it so large, it allows you to fine tune specific goals under the main points."" She characterized EU goals with India as situated within a larger EU-Asia strategy that is not entirely clear. On the economy, she said India and the EU work together very well, but in other areas the EU strategy is ""like an orchestra out of synch. They all appear to be on the same page, but playing different lines."" For this reason, she said, India's long relationship with the EU still has not overtaken India's bilateral relationships with member countries where, she indicated, it is often easier to get results.
6. (C) Bazard felt that ""the most important thing is for the heads of state to have political discussions over international issues, regional issues, and terrorism."" The summit will include several ""regional issues"" discussions organized by the EU presidency to cover Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. These meetings will be very tightly restricted, said Manet, with only the leaders of delegations attending. He pointed out that this has caused some consternation among bureaucrats in the GOI delegation, who will see Singh and Mukherjee go behind closed doors to negotiate. He added that the GOI appears to be willing to cooperate more on terrorism, especially with Europol. Bazard noted that negotiating India's status with Europol is difficult at the moment because Europol is restructuring. Bazard said that the EU has decided not to issue a Joint Statement, preferring a press communiqu in which it intends to briefly cover summit discussion over Pakistan, Iran, Burma, and terrorism. Regarding Burma, Manet said the EU is not confident of getting much cooperation from India, adding that the press communiqu will probably not even use the word ""democracy"" in the Burma section, instead calling for ""consensual government"" or something to that bland effect.
Bilateral meetings with France
7. (C) Bazard told PolOff that the nuclear agreement would be at the heart of France's bilateral talks with India, and said France hopes to sign the nuclear agreement during the summit (NOTE: as Post has reported several times, this agreement will not be operational until India signs its IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Conversations with Indian officials indicate that the GOI will not finalize the IAEA Safeguards Agreement until after congressional approval of the 123 Act. END NOTE). France also intends to discuss global issues, defense cooperation, food security, climate change, and the global economy. A new bilateral business forum, replacing an outdated format, will be announced. Other potential deliverables from the bilats are agreements on cooperation on outer space and a social security agreement. A visa exemption program is also in the works but will probably not be ready at the summit. France also hopes to establish a bilateral working group on the environment, with an emphasis on finding ways to finance relevant technology transfers.
NEW DELHI 00002591 003 OF 003
8. (C) Indian MEA Director (Europe West) G.V. Srinivas told PolOff that the GOI anticipates the EU will press hard on climate change at the summit. He indicated that India is interested in discussions of alternative energy cooperation and technology transfer, but will probably steer away from other climate-change related talk. Professor Bava anticipated that India will fight to ""advance its own set of arguments"" on the climate change agenda, without specifying what those would be. Srinivas stated that the GOI anticipates pressure from the EU on human rights issues. PolOff pressed Bazard on whether the recent incidents of persecution of Christians in India will be raised either bilaterally or in the India-EU context during the summit. Bazard acknowledged that there has been pressure to make it an issue, and said that it will be raised but that the GOI has ""said all the right things, done all the right things...it will not be the big thing on the agenda.""