Why Berlin Is A Key Partner For New Delhi

News: Indian PM is in Berlin for the biennial Inter-Governmental Consultations. The IGC invitation was initiated by Germany during the Ukraine crisis, indicating the importance of India as a global partner.

This follows the visits of the UK prime minister and the European Commission president to India.

The Nordic Summit will follow.

PM’s stop by Paris to meet the French president after a crucial election would be a good sign.

India’s European policy seeking a multipolar world is in full swing.

What are the main features of Indo-German partnership?

India and Germany are strategic partners.

The partnership mostly deals with climate and sustainability issues. There are no traditional strategic elements like space, nuclear, or defence partnerships. Nevertheless, there is a strategic aspect related to the revival of the partnership amid the Ukraine crisis and the reordering it brings.

Germany and India are supporters of globalisation. Germany is the most reluctant in Europe to impose unilateral sanctions on Russia and on curbing engagement. It will suffer immense pain with the reduction in Russian energy supplies.

On Russia: Germany and India agree that Russia cannot be isolated, remain engaged with it and insist it must play within the rules. Maintaining a dialogue is common to Berlin and New Delhi and this could form the basis of a viable political understanding.

– On China: With the Russian policy in bad shape, the China-cautious partners of German coalition Govt seek to deal with Beijing as a systemic rival. India does not want Russian action in Ukraine to distract from Chinese transgressions. A commonality of view on the threat from China to the international order is another aspect of the Indo-German strategic understanding.

– On Green finance: The Indo-German partnership has deepened its climate friendly agenda. More than €1 billion annually is committed by Germany for various green ideas, including solar power, electric mobility, smart cities and Namami Gange. An enhanced partnership on climate, green infrastructure, sustainability and development for the next decade will be the mainstay of the Indo-German strategic partnership.

Way forward

Given the success of the Indo-German environmental and energy partnership, it is time for India and Germany to take this model to other developing countries. Germany through the Compact for Africa, and India through the India-Africa Forum Summit, have dedicated African policies as well as an interest in Latin America.

Replicating Indian development initiatives – some with German collaboration – in Africa and Latin America can be a major objective. This could initially promote green energy, training, women’s empowerment and the achievement of SDGs.

There is scope for joint vaccine production, for which Germany has committed funding for Africa, which is India’s major market for pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

The ‘Achieving SDGs Together’ approach will perhaps be the motto of India and Germany ahead.

Germany needs to enhance its trade and investment with India. The recent visit of the German state secretary for economic cooperation and the brighter prospects for the India-EUFTA and investment agreements are encouraging.

German companies are moving from their individual production approach to supply chain production lines. By establishing regional or global manufacturing hubs in India, they may utilise India’s FTA with ASEAN and access to Africa to enhance exports from India.

This could well be a type of China +1 policy. If this can be embedded in the German thinking, and used to wean Germany incrementally away from China, it will be a strategic boost to the Indo-German partnership.

Source: This post is based on the article “Why Berlin Is A Key Partner For New Delhi” published in The Times of India on 2nd May 22.

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