India-Sweden Strategic Compass, Vol.2 No. 6 November-December 2023
How has been the India-Sweden ties in the year 2023? And, what does the future path look like for this progressive relationship in the year 2024 & ahead?
With multiple wars and conflicts raging in Europe and the Indo-Pacific – the protracted Ukraine war, the Hamas-Israel war, Azerbaijan’s swift military offensive in Nagorno Karabakh, and the military strife in Myanmar to name a few – there was little to cheer about this past year. Even as democratic governments around the world have been struggling to find ways to pursue cooperation and coalesce outreach, the interactions between India and Europe (as also the India-U.S. one) have been productive more often than not.
In recent years, and particularly in 2023, due to India’s and Sweden’s efforts to strengthen economic ties, enhance sustainable practices, and deepen defense cooperation with an eye for the future, the prospects for continued collaboration in (and beyond) 2024 look promising. The commitment demonstrated by both nations in addressing global challenges through innovation and sustainability bodes well for the continued growth and diversification of the India-Sweden partnership in the coming year. It should provide momentum for democratic solidarity, as well as maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. It is also important to take note of areas where momentum in ties is lacking, such as supply chains and connectivity. Particularly, India, Sweden, and the EU should look to collaborate via the U.S.-led MSP, a forum of 13 countries across the world plus the EU, to mitigate the challenges to the critical mineral supply chains by authoritarian states like China and Russia, especially China which dominates this market.
As regards, connectivity, the India-EU convergence via Global Gateway’s plans in the northeastern region of India and its immediate neighborhood is a good start. In addition, the development of the IMEC, which binds together India, the EU, and the U.S., will accelerate investments in high-quality infrastructure projects in multiple regions, giving a boost to both India’s and the West’s ties to the Global South. Even as the war in the Middle East has put brakes on the project at least for now, the ambitious project will regain steam hopefully soon, as there is greater political will to counter China’s humungous efforts via the Belt and Road Initiative.
As a result, if effective diplomacy and sustained communication continue, India, Sweden and the other NB8 states, and the EU can together contribute to jointly addressing regional, global challenges and fostering international cooperation – not only helping rejuvenate the rules-based global liberal order but also strengthening cooperation with the Global South.
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