German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Visit to India, 2019
Jun 28, 2020
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Visit to India, 2019
Outcomes of the visit:
- The German leader, on a three-day visit, sealed 17 MoUs and five Joint Declarations of Intent, covering a wide range of issues including agriculture, education, and heritage conservation.
- A Joint Statement issued after the official consultation, expressed firm opposition to international terrorism and urged the global community to act against safe havens and sanctuaries of terrorists, saying that both sides oppose terrorism in all its “forms and manifestations”.
- Both sides signed 17 Memoranda of Understanding covering cooperation in space research, marine ecology preservation, agriculture, Artificial Intelligence among other areas.
- An MoU was signed between India's National Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art, the Indian Museum, Kolkata, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Stiftung Humboldt Forum in Berliner Schloss.
- Another agreement was signed between between All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will spend 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) on green urban mobility projects conceived under the new German-Indian partnership. This will be over a five-year period. The funds will be used to finance several environment friendly projects such as the introduction of electric buses to replace the ones running on diesel for public transport in urban centres.
- Green mobility solutions emerged as a major talking point for India-Germany cooperation during Merkel’s current visit, particularly in the backdrop of authorities in New Delhi declaring a health emergency due to a toxic haze enveloping the capital.
- Joint Declaration of Intent on the Indo-German Partnership on Green Urban Mobility:
Both sides agreed to foster cooperation on low-carbon mobility solutions and welcomed the signing of the new Joint Declaration of Intent on the Indo-German Partnership on Green Urban Mobility wherein the German side expressed its readiness to provide additional concessional finance of Euros 1 billion to support improvements of green urban mobility infrastructure and services and strengthen capacities of national, state and local institutions to design and implement sustainable, inclusive and smart mobility solutions in Indian cities. In addition, both leaders welcomed that e-Mobility is being envisaged an important area of collaboration, including under the already well established Joint Working Group on Automotive,
What is the background to India and Germany relations?
- India is one of the first countries to end the state of war with post-war Germany in 1951 and amongst the first countries to recognize the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). India and Germany have a ‘strategic partnership’ since 2001, which has been further strengthened with two rounds of Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC). There have been regular interactions between Parliamentarians of the two countries. The Indo-German Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag, established in 1971, has contributed to strengthening links between the two Parliaments.
- The closeness in relation with Germany started in 2000 when special green cards were introduced for Indians to encourage Indian students to go to Germany and also encouraged business visas so that Indian business can go to Germany and there is better flow of trade between India and Germany.
How is the proximity between India and Germany impacting?
- Germany seems to be in driver’s seat when it comes to EU. India’s relation, as it gets better with Germany will help consolidate its position as one of the major players in Asia. The time is right for India to partner with Europe as it is said that this century belongs to Asia.
- This move of Germany to partner with India is expected to be followed by other EU countries who in the past used to favour china over India.
- After Pokhran, Germany and France stood solidly with India after basic criticism. This made the EU change its policy towards India.
- India will have to engage much more with Germany and France after Brexit as far as bilateral relationship is concerned. This is good for India as Germany comes with good source of investment and are not protectionist.
- German partnership is very important for making Skill India Mission successful. If 800 million Indian youth get skill as per the global standards, then the youth power can contribute to India’s development. Germany has set global parameters in skill development which are very apt for India.
- Germany and India were part of G-4 to fight for permanent membership of UN Security Council. This was huge step forward in India German relationship. Also, in NSG, Germany and France have supported India. The question is if they will be able to pressure china to de-link India’s
- candidature from Pakistan’s candidature. There is no way that can be compared but the Chinese are trying to do that.
- India and Germany have established a joint working group on counter terrorism which has led to critical sharing of intelligence. On the perception of need to fight international terrorism, Germany is supportive of India’s position, including in the UN that India has a threat from neighbourhood which threatens the unity of India. Now that terror has started emanating from Europe’s soil, German Chancellor is one of those who said from the beginning that it was important for Europe to combat with this issue in a unified way.
- Germany is one of the few countries in western liberal world that still stands for immigration.
- The German Chancellor was courageous to open German borders for refugees when public opinion in Germany did not support it at that time. As a result of this, Germany has taken a very large number of upper elite of Syrian society who are highly qualified at the time when Germany was facing a shrinking population. This was a smart thing by Germany because today it has large reservoir of respected and qualified Syrians who will work for Germany’s prosperity.
India EU FTA:
- While India is growing in significance as a trading partner for Germany there is clearly a great deal of potential to be realized. Apart from traditional sectors, knowledge driven sectors hold good potential for collaboration in the fields of IT, ITES, biotechnology, auto components, renewable energy, green technology etc. The negotiations for FTA is going on for many years. the FTA, the problem lies with ‘investment’ and many issues which have to be sorted out. The sovereign debt crisis and economic crisis in Europe and increased protectionism hasn’t helped negotiations.
- There is a model BITA which India shares with Germany. It is to be renewed to further engage in increased trade between both countries.
In fact, Germany is becoming even more important for two reasons-
1. Post Brexit, the role for Germany will become even more important
- The kind of Europe that emerges post Brexit is critical for India.
- Thus, we need to have a very good economic relationship with Germany as well as France in the post Brexit era.
2. The second point pertains to the negotiations around the FTA
- The US is particularly looking at the negotiations between India and Germany on the FTA. The American automobile giants and the Japanese automobile giants are actually keen to take advantage of the Indian-German FTA. Germany after all is the world’s fourth largest automotive market, therefore, it is a huge attractive market and therefore the FTA assumes a critical importance.
- Also, the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce is the largest bilateral chamber of commerce that Germany has with any country. Further, there is a new market that has opened up and that is the Film Market. In fact, the Bollywood movie, “Kabhi Khushi, Kabhi Gham” was the first Hindi movie that aired on German TV, dubbed in German. Since then a number of films, have been shot in Germany, including the movie, “Don 2”. Thus, the scope of people-to-people exchange is huge.