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Apr 2, 2024

EUVP VISIT STORY – Ms Saaz LAHIRI, Research Associate at the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi

Saaz LAHIRIThe European Union Visitors Programme serves as a crucial strategic instrument for the EU's public diplomacy, fostering people-to-peopleconnections and deepening understanding of the EU's structures and processes. Being selected for a second visit to Brussels in 2023 through this remarkable program was a source of great happiness for me. During this experience, I had the opportunity to address my uncertainties about the intricate structures and engage with high-ranking officials from various entities, including the Council of the European UnionEuropean CommissionEuropean ParliamentEuropean External Action ServiceEMODnet, and the Embassy of India, Belgium. 

This engagement not only clarified aspects related to maritime policies in India but also dispelled their misconceptions. Interacting with colleagues from India, Mozambique, Afghanistan, and China added a valuable dimension to my experience. Special thanks go to Mr Christophe Manet at the Delegation of the European Union to India for nominating me and to Mr Piotr Bartoszewicz-Malicki, the head of the EUVP Unit for conducting a wonderful programme.

My engagements with EU counterparts encompassed discussions on India-EU Maritime Engagements, both military and non-military aspects, Cooperation in multilateral and minilateral arrangements, Potential India-EU Track 1.5 initiatives, Demystifying the CMP, Marine litter, Marine spatial planning, Non-traditional security threats including Piracy and Climate change, amongst other topics.

I also express my deep appreciation to Mr Jonas Stassen, my program coordinator, for crafting an outstanding program and accommodating my preferences in Brussels. I would like to thank Julius Nietsch for enduring B. Chagun Basha's lively sense of humour with me. I am profoundly thankful for the opportunity to meet remarkable individuals and forge lasting friendships during this one-week program (November 2023). Experiencing Brussels' rain, snow, and hail in chilly weather added a memorable touch to the overall experience.