INDIA-GERMANY BILATERAL RELATIONS

INDIA-GERMANY BILATERAL RELATIONS

Basic and Backgrounds

 

  • Bilateral relations between India and Germany are founded on common democratic principles and are marked by a high degree of trust and mutual respect.
  • India was amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War.
  • Relations grew significantly following the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. In the last decade, both economic and political interaction between India and Germany has increased significantly. Today, Germany is amongst India’s most important partners both bilaterally and in the global context.
  • India and Germany have a “Strategic Partnership” since 2001, which has been further strengthened with the Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) at the level of Head of Governments (German Chancellor and PM) which allows for a comprehensive review of Cooperation and identification of new areas of engagement.
  • India is amongst a select group of countries with which Germany has such a high-level Consultations. The 4th IGC was held in Berlin on May 30, 2017 wherein 12 Cooperation documents in various sectors were signed.
  • The 5th IGC, was held in Delhi on Nov. 1, 2019 during which 21 MoUs/Agreements were signed in diverse areas of engagment including some of the new and emerging areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Space, Smart Cities, Urban Green Mobility etc.

 

Political
  • Regular visits take place from both sides, including at the highest level.
  • Both the nations are a member of few multilateral groups like G-20, G-4, etc.
  • The two leaders exchanged pleasantries at the G7 Summit in August 2019 and the UNGA in September 2019.

Promoting Security, Stability, and Sustainability contributing to a Rules Based Global Order

  • G20 – Challenges to global economic stability and growth.
  • Support for NSG
  • G-4 – Reform of the UNSC, discussions towards initiation of text-based negotiations.
  • Freedom of navigation in international waters, the right of passage and other maritime rights and obligations in accordance with the UNCLOS and other principles of international law.
  • Defence cooperation – To conclude negotiations on a binding agreement concerning enhanced cooperation in the defence field including in defence industry cooperation.
  • Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism.
  • Joint Declaration of Intent on German-Indian Cooperation on Cyber Policy.
  • Exploring the possibilities to cooperate in their assistance to African Countries.
  • Climate Change – Implementation of the Paris Agreement with a timely transformation to low carbon inclusive sustainable economies.
  • Trade & Economy – Negotiation on EU-India BTIA

 

  • There is an Indo-German Parliamentary Friendship Group, in German Bundestag since 1971.
  • The Indo-German Parliamentary Friendship Group (constituted in May 2018) for the present term of German Parliament consists of 24 Members from all the six parties represented in the German Parliament.
  • Visit by Parliamentarians from both sides take place regularly.
Sister States
  • Some States and Cities of India and Germany have entered into twinning arrangements.
  • Karnataka and Bavaria have Sister State arrangement since 2007. Mumbai and Stuttgart are sister cities since 1968.
  • In January 2015, Maharashtra and Baden-Wurttemberg signed an MoU to establish a Sister State relationship.

 

Institutional Cooperation Arrangements
  • Several institutionalized arrangements exist between India and Germany to discuss bilateral and global issues of interest namely, Foreign Office Consultations, High Defence Committee, Indo-German Energy Forum, Indo-German Environment Forum, S&T Committee, and Joint Working Groups in various fields, including skill development, automotive, agriculture, coal, tourism, water and waste management.
  • Both countries consult each other and coordinate positions in multilateral fora including G-20 and in the UN on global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, etc.
  • There have been consultations between the two countries on regional and international issues such as UN issues, International Cyber Issues, Disarmament & Non-proliferation, Export Control, East Asia, Eurasia, Africa

 

Defence Cooperation
  • India-Germany Defence Cooperation Agreement (2006) provides a framework for bilateral defence cooperation.
  • The then, German Defence Minister Ms. Ursula von der Leyen visited India in May 2015 and Raksha Mantri visited Berlin in February 2019.
  • To further enhance the Defence Industry and defence cooperation between Germany and India, an Arrangement on Implementation of the Agreement of 6th October 2006 concerning Bilateral Defence Cooperation was signed on February 12, 2019 during the visit of Raksha Mantri to Berlin.

 

 

Economic & Commercial Relations
  • Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe. Bilateral trade grew from Euro 15.96 billion to Euro 20.41 bn in 2018. In the period January to November 2019, total bilateral trade stood at Euro 19.35 bn.
  • Germany is the 7th largest foreign direct investor in India since April 2000. Germany’s total FDI in India from April 2000 until June 2019 amounted to US$ 11.9 billion. 12.
  • Facilitating Trade: A Fast-Track System for German companies has been operating in Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) since March 2016.
  • India and Germany signed a Joint Statement on April 1, 2019 to set up a Fast-Track system for Indian Companies in Germany.
  • To facilitate the entry of German Mittelstand (Medium Sized Companies) in India, the Embassy of India, Berlin runs the Make in India Mittelstand (MIIM) Programme since September 2015. Currently, 135 German Mittelstand (MSMEs) companies are being facilitated through MIIM Programme for market entry and investment in India.

 

Science & Tech
  • Indo-German Science & Technology cooperation started with the signing of the Intergovernmental S&T Cooperation Agreement in 1971 and 1974.
  • There are more than 150 joint S&T research projects and 70 direct partnerships between Universities of both countries.
  • India’s scientific establishments have close partnerships with German R&D institutions, including the Max Planck Society, Fraunhofer Laboratories and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
  • India Germany have High Technology Partnership Group (HTPG) for identifying specific opportunities for high technology collaboration under the “Make in India” programme.
  • Both decided on cooperation in the Field of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation.

 

Culture
  • India and Germany have a long tradition of academic and cultural exchange. Max Mueller was the first scholar of Indo-European languages to translate and publish the Upanishads and the Rigveda.
  • German interest in the Indian philosophy and languages resulted in the setting up of the first Chair of Indology at the University of Bonn in 1818.
  • The Government of India has funded 31 short term rotating chairs of Indian studies in German Universities so far.
  • There has been growing interest in Germany in Indian dance, music and literature, as well as motion picture and TV industry.
  • Indian films and artists regularly feature at the Berlin International Film Festival and at Indian Film festivals held in other parts of Germany.
  • Promotion of teaching modern Indian languages in German educational institutions as agreed in 2015.

 

Development Cooperation
  • Germany has been an important development cooperation partner for several decades. Total bilateral Technical and Financial Cooperation since it began in 1958, amounts to approx. Euro 17 billion.
  • Energy, sustainable economic development and environment & management of natural resources are priority areas.
  • Financial assistance from Germany is mainly as soft loan, composite loans or grants routed through KfW, German Government’s Development Bank.
  • Technical assistance is provided through GIZ, German Government’s development agency. Major projects are in the sectors of energy (Renewables, Green Energy Corridor), Indo-German Solar Partnership, Skill Development and Sustainable urban development (water/sanitation/waste, climate friendly urban mobility, smart cities).
  • India-Germany cooperation on cleaning the river Ganga: The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and GIZ Germany signed an Implementation Agreement for Ganga Rejuvenation in 2016 under which Germany committed €3 million for data management and capacity building to deal with the pollution.

 

Indian Diaspora
  • There are about 7 lakh Indians and people of Indian origin in Germany.
  • The Indian diaspora mainly comprises of professionals, technocrats, businessmen/traders and nurses.
  • There has been an increase in the last few years in the number of qualified Indian professionals in Germany in the fields of IT, banking, finance, etc.
  • There are a number of Indian associations in Germany. Around 17,500 Indian students are pursuing various courses in Germany.

 

Germany Boosting ties with India
  • Reflecting the new interest, the German Parliament passed a resolution on boosting ties with India days before Merkel arrived in Delhi.
  • India a pillar of Asian stability and a country that shares European political values.
  • As Germany seeks to bring India into its larger geopolitical calculus, India too is ending its prolonged indifference to Europe as a strategic actor.
  • The recent elevation of India’s engagement with France is now being followed by a fresh look at strengthening ties with Germany.
  • Engaging Germany is not just about bilateral relations with Berlin. It is about collaboration with the Germany-led European Union as a whole.
  • The expansive range of agreements signed during Merkel’s visit include trade and investment, mitigating climate change, the digital revolution, urban development, agriculture and human resource development.
  • Unlike in the past, defence and security have acquired a prominent place in Indo-German discussions.
  • India had recently celebrated remarkable improvements in the ease of doing business, indicating its willingness to remove bureaucratic hurdles.
  • However, technical regulations in trade like testing requirement are real burden for German Companies.

 

Strategic Partnership for Sustainable Growth and a Reliable International Order
  • Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Modi reiterated that the Indo-German Strategic Partnershipis based on the common values and principles of democracy, free and fair trade, and rules-based international order, as well as on mutual trust and respect.
  • Key issues in the discussions included jointly driving the digital transformationthrough innovation and frontier technologies, especially artificial intelligence, making economic growth sustainable by cooperating on climate change, creating space for people to people contacts through legal mobility for skilled labour, and contributing to a reliable international order by strengthening and updating multilateral institutions.
  • Recognising that AI will fundamentally impactthe way the world lives and works in the coming years both sides intend to work together to foster, encourage and develop cooperation on AI technologies and thereby promote innovation and sustainable development.
  • Both sides reaffirmed the importance of building Digital Partnershipto intensify regular interaction and coordination towards collaboration on the next generation technologies.
  • India and Germany aspire to build a collaborative partnershipby leveraging advantages on each side recognising increasing integration of hardware and software in developing IoT and AI solutions for societal benefits.

 

International Cooperation for Multi-lateral Research
  • Recognizing that international cooperation has long been a key feature of cutting-edge research projects, Germany and India agreed on working together closely to conduct joint bilateral and/or multilateral researchand development activities on the development and use of AI.
  • This also includes cooperation between German and Indian companies which are part of the same global value chains.
  • Both sides stressed the unique opportunity to enhance Indo-German collaboration in the area of AI for health.
  • AI collaborations in Agriculturesuch as precision farming with the aim to increase efficiency and to save resources as well as reduction of food losses and waste.
  • Germany and India agree to share research on the complexities arising out of adoption of AI in the workplace and its impact on the economy and societythrough a joint workshop.
  • They welcomed the first stakeholder meeting in Berlin in September 2019 and agreed on facilitating another such meeting in India.

 

Expanding frontiers of Trade and Investment
  • The leaders underlined their determination to enhance bilateral trade and investment.
  • Both sides confirmed the importance of a balanced Free Trade Agreementbetween India and the EU and agreed to deepen efforts to restart negotiations between the EU and India on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement.
  • Both sides reiterated their strong support for a rules-based international trading system with the WTOat its centre.
  • Against this backdrop all efforts should be made to restore the full functioning of the WTO dispute settlement system and reform the WTO without undermining its fundamental principles such as Special and Differential Treatment, consensus-based decision making and development objectives.
  • To this end both Parties will strive to make the next WTO Ministerial Conference in Nursultan, Kazakhstan a success.
  • Amidst the current unpredictability of the US security policies, President Donald Trump’s attack on the world trading system, the rapid economic expansion of China into Europe, the increasing assertivenessof the Sino-Russian political axis, Berlin is looking to diversify its global partnerships beyond the Euro-Atlantic space.
  • India is inevitably at the top of its list of potential strategic partners.

 

5th Biennial Inter Governmental Consultations

 

  • Joint Declaration of Intent on the Indo-German Partnership on Green Urban Mobility under which Germany will provide additional finance of 1 billion euros.
  • Dedicate a part of the 35 million euros under the framework of the bilateral call of the International Climate Initiative to grid expansion and storage systems for renewable energy and a part to forest landscape restoration.
  • “Indo-German Partnerships on Higher Education” (IGP) was signed as part of the overall programme “A New Passage to India” to increase the number of Indian students studying in Germany.
  • Both countries called for cooperation of all countries in uprooting terror infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks.
  • Germany will facilitate export of military equipment as well as technology sharing with India including maritime projects between the Indian and German naval industries (e.g. submarines).

 

Way Forward
  • Europe continues to be an important source of capital and technology which India needs for its own development.
  • Focusing attention on relations with Germany which is the most powerful and now increasingly assertive player in European affairs has been a good move on the part of the Modi government.
  • The current uncertainty in the relations between America, China and Russia demands that India move closer to the European middle powers — France and Germany.
  • Delhi must also devote more attention to other parts of the continent, from Spain to Sweden and Portugal to Poland, that have so much to offer India.