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India Germany relations complete 70 years

India Germany relations complete 70 years

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  • GS 2 || International Relations || India & Rest of the World || Europe

Why in news?

  • Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla released new postage stamps to commemorate the 70th anniversary of India-Germany diplomatic relations.
  • India and Germany mark the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations as modern countries this year. Over the last decade, Germany has been a steadfast partner for India and amongst its closest friends in Europe.

Background

  • India was the first country to end the state of war with Germany in 1951 and therefore was among the first countries to grant the Federal Republic of Germany diplomatic recognition.
  • Germany established its Consulate General in Mumbai in 1951, leading to the establishment of a full-fledged Embassy in New Delhi in 1952.

Strategic Alliances

  • The strategic relationship between India and Germany is hampered by Germany’s lack of geopolitical clout in Asian affairs. Unlike France and the United Kingdom, Germany has no strategic presence in Asia.
  • Over the last decade, trade between India and Germany increased in volume but decreased in importance.
  • Germany and India maintain a strategic partnership
    • Back in May 2000, both countries adopted the ‘Agenda for the Indo-German Partnership in the 21st Century.
    • This includes regular meetings of both Heads of Government as well as annual meetings of the Foreign Ministers, if possible.
    • It also substantiated their mutual interest in the expansion of the economic and technological sector, as well as for Science and Culture.
  • Both seeking entry into UNSC
    • India and Germany both seek to become permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and have joined with Japan and Brazil to coordinate their efforts via the G4 collective.

Defence

  • India-Germany Defence Cooperation Agreement (2006)provides a framework for bilateral defence cooperation.
  • To further enhance the Defence Industry and defence cooperation between Germany and India, an Arrangement on the 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.
  • Maritime security
  • India and Germany maintain an ongoing dialogue in the areas of commercial maritime security and anti-terrorism cooperation.
  • For the first time, the Indian Navy and the German Navy conducted joint exercises in 2008, following a 2006 anti-piracy cooperation agreement between the two nations.
  • Germany’s military is primarily designed to defend Eastern Europe and support NATO operations in the Western European theatre.
  • Unlike the United Kingdom and France, Germany not only lacks sovereign territories in the Indo-Pacific region but is also incapable of projecting power.

Cultural Relations Between India and Germany

  • India and Germany have a long history of academic and cultural exchanges.
  • Max Mueller was the first Indo-European language scholar to translate and publish the Upanishads and the Rigveda. In 1818, the University of Bonn established the first Chair of Indology in response to German interest in Indian philosophy and languages.
  • So far, the Indian government has supported 31 short-term rotating hairs of Indian studies at German universities. Indian films and artists are frequently featured at the Berlin International Film Festival, as well as at Indian film festivals in other parts of Germany.

Infrastructure

  • Smart cities, e-mobility etc
    • India is exploiting German’s cooperation in Smart cities, e-mobility, harnessing water resources and Defence corridors.
  • Green energy corridors
    • They acknowledged the successful Indo-German Solar Partnership founded in 2015 and the cooperation on Green Energy Corridors established in 2013.
    • To sustain the positive developments and to achieve the ambitious targets of the Indian government to provide 175 GW power from renewable energy until 2022 and 450 GW in later years and of the German Government to provide 80% of total power generation from renewable energy by 2050.
    • Germany also plans to spend up to 1 billion euros in India over the next five years as part of a new partnership between the nations on green urban mobility.

Indian Diaspora

  • There are about 7 lakh Indians and people of Indian origin in Germany. The Indian diaspora mainly comprises 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 several Indian associations in Germany.

Importance of India-Germany relations

  • Skill development and training
    • India has a large workforce waiting to be assimilated into labour market, but India lacks skilled manpower and opportunities after skilling, while Germany’s population is ageing and it needs a workforce to keep its economy going and also can provide skill training in India.
  • Investment in various projects
    • With more than $20 billion of bilateral trade and as the seventh-largest investor in India, Germany is keen on concluding the stalled India-EU FTA negotiations which India has been negotiating for along with the EU.
    • Germany can be a valuable partner for: ‘Make in India’, railway modernisation, renewable energy, Clean Ganga and skill development.
  • Education, Research and development
    • Germany is one of the most productive collaborators in joint scientific projects for Indian researchers.
    • Germany and India agreed to explore a new collaboration under digital India’ initiative. Both sides aim at building business collaborations through innovation in the area of Industry 4.0 and the ‘Internet of Things.
    • Germany and India will strengthen their cooperation in facilitating research and commercialization of technologies in Indian heavy industries.
  • NSG Membership- Germany has supported India’s membership bid in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
  • G4 Grouping- India and Germany are members of G-4 along with Brazil and Japan.
    • The G4 nations support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
  • Renewable Energy-Germany, despite being among the countries with the least sunshine hours in the world, is one of the largest solar power producers across the globe.
    • Germany can play an active role in India led International Solar Alliance.

Area of contention/Challenges

  • Economic Liberalization: Germany and the European Union are wary of India’s trade liberalisation efforts.
    • Germany and the EU are lobbying for more liberal labour regulations.
  • Kashmir Lockdown: Germany is concerned about the Kashmir lockdown and minorities’ rights in India, and has begun to cast doubt on India’s “shared political values” (freedom and minorities’ rights).
    • Merkel’s cautious public comment on the unsustainable nature of the current situation in Kashmir serves as a timely reminder that India’s friends will find it difficult to remain silent if things do not improve soon.
  • Technical Issues in Trade Regulation
    • India recently celebrated significant improvements in the ease of doing business, indicating its willingness to remove bureaucratic barriers.
    • However, technical trade regulations, such as testing requirements, are a significant burden for German businesses.

Way forward

  • Germany is India’s most important European trading partner. The textile industry dominates Indian exports to Germany, followed by chemical products, electrical engineering products, metal and leather goods, and foodstuffs.
    • After the United States, Germany is India’s second most important research partner in the world.
    • A large number of joint Indo-German scientific publications attests to this.
  • Europe continues to be an important source of capital and technology which India needs for its 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 Indian government.
  • The current uncertainty in the relations between America, China and Russia demands that India move closer to the European middle powersFrance and Germany.
  • India 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.

Mains model question

  • Explain the relevance of Indo-Germany relations in geopolitical order.

References