As the world’s largest democracy, India, with its 1.3 billion inhabitants, is a natural partner for Germany and Europe in Asia. It is projected to become the most populous country on earth by 2027 and indeed is already the sixth-largest economy in the world. With its economic upswing, India’s regional and geopolitical importance is set to continue to grow. Moreover, India is a key country for global climate protection and for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
With the fifth round of the Indo-German intergovernmental consultations, relations between the two countries are to be further deepened. This week, the Federal Chancellor and numerous Federal Ministers or their representatives will travel to New Delhi for consultations with their Indian counterparts. Their common agenda will focus on cooperation on issues of the future such as the digital transformation and artificial intelligence as well as climate and environmental protection. Furthermore, existing consultations between the two foreign ministries will be broadened to include a wider range of areas. Foreign Minister Maas will sign an agreement to this end in New Delhi.
Close-knit network of bilateral relations
Germany and India have continuously expanded their bilateral relations over the past few years. They regularly coordinate their efforts on a wide range of issues in more than 30 different bilateral dialogue and consultation formats. These include cyber foreign policy, vocational training, renewable energies and environmental protection. Moreover, among other things, the two national football associations will cooperate with one another and partnerships between Indian and German museums will be established. Germany and India have been united by a strategic partnership since the year 2000. The Indo-German intergovernmental consultations were launched in 2011 and have since been held every two years to further strengthen this dialogue in a spirit of characterised by trust.
“India is the most important anchor of stability for us in South Asia. In a world in which conflicts are not getting any fewer, India is a partner for us that is, like us, committed to a rules‑based international order.” (Foreign Minister Maas at the German Bundestag on 24 October 2019)
Future on the agenda: the digital transformation, artificial intelligence, climate and environmental protection
Declarations of intent on enhanced support and networking of start-ups, cooperation on artificial intelligence and cooperation with respect to the expansion and modernisation of India’s rail network are to be signed at the consultations. What is more, both countries want to work more closely together on the issue of green urban mobility and in a network on smart cities. Especially in a country as populous as India, this can contribute to improved air quality, better resource protection and the reduction of CO2 emissions. In addition, there will be joint projects in the future to protect the oceans from plastic waste.
In the area of innovation and knowledge partnerships, Germany and India will further intensify their existing cooperation in the area of vocational training. Furthermore, various scientific institutions in both countries intend to expand their cooperation in space research and other high-tech fields.
India: a partner for multilateralism
India and Germany also want to deepen their cooperation in foreign and security policy. Both countries are already coordinating their efforts closely at the international level within the group of the 20 leading industrial and emerging economies (G20) and as part of the initiative of what are known as the G4 countries (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) to reform the UN Security Council. What is more, India has signed up to the Alliance for Multilateralism initiated by Germany. Over 80 countries now support this initiative in which like-minded countries pool their cooperative efforts to strengthen international institutions and rules.