Germany and India: Bilateral relations

22.11.2023 - Article

After the Second World War, India was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany. Today, India regards Germany as an important partner for its ambitious economic reform programmes, for the development of the country’s industrial sector and for its quest to find a new global role. Relations are based on the May 2000 Agenda for the Indo-German Partnership in the 21st Century, which has since been updated by further joint declarations, most recently the Partnership for Green and Sustainable Development, which was signed by Federal Chancellor Scholz and Indian Prime Minister Modi on 2 May 2022. The key forum for developing relations further is the Indo-German intergovernmental consultations, where the two countries’ Cabinets have held joint sessions every two years since 2011, alternately in Germany and India.

Germany is India’s most important trading partner in the EU and thus also one of the country’s key trading partners worldwide. Since India embarked on a course of reform and opened up its economy in 1991, the volume of trade between the two countries has increased rapidly.

Germany’s development cooperation with India remains a major component of bilateral relations. According to the World Bank’s most recent figures from 2019, around 10 percent of the population live below the poverty line, on less than 2.15 US dollars per day, despite the rapid economic development seen in recent years. Yet, several hundred million people have successfully escaped poverty over the last two decades. At the same time, however, industrialisation and urbanisation are causing serious damage to the environment. India is now the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Development cooperation focuses on energy, energy efficiency, sustainable urban development and environmental and resource protection. In addition, German development cooperation supports the economic participation of women and the setting up of a practice-oriented (dual) vocational training system and provides stimulus for innovative approaches, e.g. in social policy or by promoting start-ups.

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