In the last decade both the European Union and India have emerged as significant regional powers with global aspirations which has led them both to focus on their relationships with the other powers in the international system at both the bilateral and multilateral level. However neither India nor the European Union seem to have given much priority to their bilateral relationship with each other (in contrast for instance to their individual concerns about the US, Russia and China) despite the fact that in 2004 it was elevated by the EU to the status of a strategic partnership with the implication that for the EU at least relations with India were 'special'. This paper examines the foundations of that strategic partnership by analysing India's strategic global and regional ambitions and contrasting them with those of the European Union, by examining the relevant policy making institutions and procedures on both sides in the case of the EU both pre and post the Lisbon Treaty) and by analysing each sides perceptions of each other and of their respective roles in the emerging international system.
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