Report CSDR-KAS Webinar 4 - 'India and the Changing Geopolitics in Central Europe'

by CSDR and KAS India Office

The CSDR-KAS Webinar Series seeks to deepen the understanding of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and to unveil the geopolitical landscape from an Indian point of view, particularly against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine War and the subsequent fundamental shifts in Europe’s security architecture.




Recent momentum in India’s ties with Europe has been accompanied by a calibrated outreach by India towards other regions in the continent beyond its traditional ties with Western Europe. The Indian government has stepped up its engagement with the Nordic states, Greece and Italy in the South, as well as Central & Eastern Europe. The India-CEE relationship in particular, just before the pandemic, in 2019, witnessed a peak of diplomatic visits and outreach. India’s foreign ministers, Sushma Swaraj and S.Jaishankar visited Bulgaria and Serbia respectively, its president travelled to Slovenia, and its vice president undertook the first high-level government visits to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, laying the foundation for political dialogue. Since then, the war in Ukraine has raised pertinent questions about how India’s ties with Russia, and the US, are viewed in Central and Eastern Europe with its distinct security and threat perceptions from Western Europe. This panel seeks to explore the current moment in India-CEE relations – the evolving nature of ties set against the backdrop of Central & Eastern Europe’s changing geopolitics and the potential it holds across avenues such as trade, investment, education, innovation,  and cultural exchanges.


Against this backdrop, this webinar will explore the following leading questions/discussion points:

  • In the next 10 years, what are the potential areas of cooperation critical to improved India-CEE relations?
  • Which are some individual countries in the CEE region of particular interest and potential?
  • What are the geopolitical considerations, if any, in play in light of the CEE region’s changing geopolitics?
  • How big a mobilizing factor is China in driving India’s engagement with the CEE region?




  • Central Europe has historically been a blind spot in India’s worldview, despite playing a pivotal role in shaping world history during the two World Wars and the Cold War. However, the last few years have seen a positive shift, with India showing a growing interest in Europe beyond the EU.
  • Central Europe holds a significant geopolitical position and is considered the heart of Europe. As a collective, it is also a major economic entity. There is a lot to gain for India in terms of technology and innovation from Central Europe. At the same time, India has many things to offer to the countries of Central Europe. Therefore, India should initiate a serious and focused engagement with Central European countries.
  • The changing dynamics and varying positions within Europe, particularly among Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary, highlight the need for India to understand and respond strategically to regional geopolitical shifts.
  • The collaboration between Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and India has great economic potential. The historical absence of disputes, along with India’s participation in the QUAD and growing ties with the US offers opportunities for economic cooperation that won’t conflict with existing alignments.
  • India's global partnerships are constantly evolving, with a growing emphasis on the country's economic focus on Europe. This can be seen inthe ongoing negotiations for advanced Free Trade Agreements(FTAs). The webinar highlighted the importance of sustained dialogue, particularly about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Additionally, it showcased the potential for increased cooperation between India and Central Europe.






Dr. Adrian Haack

Portrait Adrian Haack

Leiter des Auslandsbüros Indien +91 26113520 /
+91 11 45506834
+91 11 45506836