Studien- und Informationsprogramm

DIALOGUE PROGRAMME for KAS-Partners from China and India

Trialogue China-India-EU: Energy and Security

Trialogue programme and public conference concentrating on foreign and security policy as well as on energy security aspects as components for the strategic interests of China, India and the EU.



The Asian continent is believed to become the new centre of gravity in global politics. Both, India and China are regional nuclear powers and thus important pillars of the security architecture in Asia. In Central Asia, India could play a balancing role in the backdrop of increasing Chinese dominance and declining Russian presence. But how alignments will take place in Central Asia is still an open question.

China and India are important players in Asia with a consistently positive economic development, high sustained growth rates in the last decade and similar economic prospects. On the bilateral level, however, China and India consider each other as competitors in such different fields as foreign investment, capital, trade, resources and markets. For the European Union both countries are important partners in trade and since 2007 the EU and India hold negotiations in order to conclude a Free Trade Agreement.

China and India play a crucial political role shaping the regional and global political landscape. Not least, the engagement in UN peacekeeping missions proofs that both countries are ready to assume their responsibility. India is currently contributing 8.900 troops (e.g. Congo, Sudan) to UN peacekeeping missions and China around 2.000 (e.g. in Lebanon, Liberia, Sudan, Timor-Leste). Also the vicinity of the conflict in Afghanistan is of great importance to China and India. However, and different to the European approach China regards its role in Afghanistan mainly from an economic investment point of view. For India there is a major geostrategic interest in a sustainable reconstruction of the country as this would entail also greater stability for Pakistan and – not least – because of many historic and familial ties between India and Afghanistan. Therefore, India stresses foremost development assistance and the strengthening of economic relations with Afghanistan.

Energy security remains a great concern for the EU as well as China and India. China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's largest consumer of energy importing 4.08 million barrels per day of crude oil and India is the 5th largest energy consumer. As the security of energy supply and energy efficiency is linked closely to economic development, the countries aim at reducing the possible impact of a crude oil supply disruption through its Strategic Petroleum Reserves. The European Union energy economy will become increasingly reliant on energy imports – with import dependence reaching 64% in 2020 and 67% in 2030 and for this reason is seeking a regional solution for its energy security. With the integration of energy markets and infrastructures within the EU, specific national solutions are often insufficient. Strategies to share and spread risk, and to make the best use of the combined weight of the EU in world affairs can be more effective than dispersed national actions. Therefore Europe has agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increasing the share of renewables in the energy consumption to 20% and improving energy efficiency by 20%, all of it by 2020. Also, the EU has stressed repeatedly the importance of relations with other consumer countries such as China and India. Existing cooperation includes the China and the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate with China in its highest energy consuming sector: it aims at enabling both administration to carry out concrete cooperation projects in the building sector. An EU-India Energy Panel was established in 2004 to provide a forum for dialogue, co-ordination and co-operation. However, cooperation needs to be deepened, promoting a common view on global energy security and addressing sustainability.


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Elisabeth Sandfuchs