A defining moment for Indo-German ties 

News: The Prime Minister of India is going to attend the sixth Indo-German Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) in Berlin. The IGC is the only such format that India has with any country. 

Important initiatives taken at the IGC 

Both have signed a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) for establishing the Green and Sustainable Development Partnership. It will fund green projects in India under public, private and PPP models. 

Both have concluded the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) on Triangular Development Cooperation for projects in third countries. This will provide avenues to work together in the Indo-Pacific, Africa and beyond.  

The JDI on migration and mobility was an important step taken during this IGC. This will facilitate the movement of a larger number of Indian students and Indian professionals to Germany. This will lead to a larger trade in services and augment the efforts for digital partnerships. 

The joint statement shows immense congruence and commonality on the UN, Afghanistan and terrorism. 

What are the other areas of convergence of interest between both the countries? 

Both India and Germany are reluctant players in the anti-Russian movement. Both search for strategic autonomy.  

The Indo-Pacific Region is strategically and economically important for both India and Germany. Therefore, Germany wants to engage with India as part of its fledgling Indo-Pacific policy.  

Germans are wary of the Chinese role in world affairs. There are signs of its departure from China. This is poised to bring business engagement to India. 

The German economy is facing the wrath of the pandemic and sanctions on Russia. Therefore, it requires new markets for trade and investment. India is an important partner in this regard due to its sustained economic growth and market size. 

India and Germany have established a green partnership based on trade, investment, technology, functional collaboration, skill development, and sustainability. For example, Indo-German energy forum, environmental forum, partnership on urban mobility etc.  

Convergence of Interests 

Germany introduced the Indo-German Education Partnership in 2016. This provided a New Passage to India. It has provided opportunities to Indian students in Germany. For example, New IITs like IIT-Indore have engaged with several technical universities in Germany for joint programmes. The Indo-German Science and Technology Centre has made valuable contributions.  

What are the challenges in bilateral ties? 

Both Germany and India do not share relations of a traditional strategic partnership. It has not been established so far. 

Way Forward 

A biennial ministerial forum is being introduced under the Indo-German Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC). It will provide “high-level coordination and political direction to the Partnership”. It will provide a coordinated institutional mechanism.  

India and the EU have agreed to restart discussions on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and an investment agreement.  

At IGC, India should focus on harnessing the entrepreneurship and private sector of both countries to take the climate-friendly achievement of SDGs forward.  

Under the energy partnership, the Green Hydrogen Task Force has been established. It will develop a Green Hydrogen Roadmap. This will attempt to take R&D to the level of commercialisation. 

A new period is reflecting new priorities in view of crises like the pandemic, the economic downturn and now, Ukraine 

Source: The post is based on an article “A defining moment for Indo-German ties” published in the Indian Express on 04th May 2022. 

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