The Big Picture – Indo-German Ties: How does each nation benefit?
German chancellor Angela merkel recently visited India. Her visit to India can be treated as something of a landmark in India’s relations with Europe’s most significant power, Germany. In recent times, Germany has gained conspicuous international influence. In the recent US-led nuclear negotiations with Iran, the permanent members of the UN Security Council thought it fit to append Germany alongside themselves, thus making the complex discussions a P5+1 venture. During this visit, the range of proposed cooperation embraces economics, politics, technology, education, security, climate change, and even municipality-level linkages.
In order to meet the German demand for enhancing investments in India, the government has announced a special fast-track mechanism to be located in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to facilitate German investments exclusively. A provision has been made not only for Indian states but also municipal authorities to open a line with their counterparts in Germany for mutual interaction, as the joint statement signed during the visit makes clear. The idea of teaching German as an additional foreign language in Kendriya Vidyalayas is about to be implemented in return for making modern Indian languages and Sanskrit available to German scholars. With this, a new stage in relations appears to have been reached primarily because India and Germany — along with Japan and Brazil — constitute an informal grouping of leading states demanding comprehensive UN reforms with an expanded Security Council that they can legitimately claim to enter as permanent members.
The current geopolitical scenario presents a sweet spot for India-Germany relations. Germany has decided to provide soft loans worth a billion euros over five years for India’s solar projects. Along with 1.15 billion it had committed earlier, the new financial assistance shows Germany’s support for India’s just-declared emission mitigation targets ahead of the crucial Paris climate conference. Among the 18 MoUs and letters of intent inked, cooperation on skill development is important. Germany’s vocational education system is top-notch and lessons from it should be used to kick-start the Skill India programme.
India is an important partner for Germany to renew its products and services. Germany is one of India’s most important trading partner. There are over 1,600 German companies that are actively engaged in India. India is a huge market for germany. FTA will pave the way for German companies to come to India and the reverse is also true. Unlike in the past, Germany now seems supportive of the Indian nuclear and missile programme, and has agreed to canvass India’s case for full membership of the export control regimes for nuclear materials.