EU envoys meet next month to rethink policy of no Modi contact

MODI

Over a decade after they decided to cut off diplomatic ties at the senior level with the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, Delhi-based ambassadors of all European Union countries are scheduled to review the decision next month. The development follows differences within the European diplomatic community over reaching out to Modi.

Irrespective of the poll outcome next week, the ambassadors of the EU countries will meet in January to weigh the pros and cons of continuing with their policy of no contact at the senior level with the Modi government.

In March 2002, weeks after the Gujarat riots, ambassadors of the EU countries had passed a resolution barring any diplomatic contact with the Modi government at the level of ambassador, deputy chief of mission and consul general. However, mid-level diplomats — upto the level of counsellors and deputy consul generals — continued to maintain contact for operational reasons.

In 2008, the ambassadors sought to review the decision. A team of mid-level diplomats was sent to Gujarat, but after their assessment, the EU countries decided to continue to abide by the March 2002 resolution.

However, cracks in the consensus began to appear last year with Denmark reaching out to Modi — the Danish ambassador to India met Modi at least a couple of times in the last one year. In June this year, EU representative to India Joao Cravinho was called to Brussels for a meeting, and was asked to give an assessment in a month. Cravinho reported to Brussels in July that they should abide by the March 2002 resolution.

But in October, the British government decided to establish diplomatic contact at the highest level with Modi.

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