At their thirteenth summit held on 30th March 2016 in Brussels, the EU and India managed to fillip their strategic partnership through the launch of a bilateral platform on energy and climate cooperation, and the promise of an EU-India forum on urban development, amongst a string of other deliverables. For long now, the EU-India relationship has been fettered in diplomatic rows, political torpidity, bureaucratic bottlenecks, failed forays into foreign policy, beached free trade agreement negotiations and overall loss of momentum. This year’s so-called annual summit – held after a gap of four years – has proved to be one of the most strategic meetings in the chronology of the EU-India relationship by refocusing the partnership onto three areas of global and bilateral significance.
Human Security as a concept is highly contested. Currently, there are two broad schools of thought. The first sees human security as an all-encompassing formula which includes human development, human rights, human freedom, human dignity and security. The second, narrower understanding of human security limits itself to freedom from fear, conceptualising human security as freedom from organised violence, repression and human rights abuses. The two understandings of human security – broad and narrow – have mirrored a North-South divide within the United Nations. Western countries, such as the US, Canada and European Union member states, have mostly embraced the freedom from fear agenda, while the global South and Japan have rallied behind the freedom from want agenda. For developing countries, the narrow conceptualisation is wedded to the Responsibility to Protect norm, fearing that human security may be instrumentalised to legitimise interventions, invite interference and compromise sovereignty.
GRF and FES India delivered a Seminar on “EU-India Cooperation on Sustainable Urbanisation” in Pune, India, in September 2016, and produced a Policy Brief on “Charting a Sustainable Future: EU-India Platforms on Energy and Climate Change and Urban Development”, as well as one on “India’s View on Human Security: Citizens First, Holistic Urbanisation and Cooperation with the European Union”.