Amb. Petra Sigmund, Director General for Asia and the Pacific,
Amb. Harish, Ambassador of India to Germany
Amb. Gurjit Singh
Dr Amrita Narlikar, President, GIGA
The Third Indo-German Track 1.5 Dialogue is taking place at a very critical juncture when the world is in the midst of intense great power politics. This geopolitical ferment is underpinned by ongoing shifts in the balance of power.
As strategic partners, India and Germany have maintained regular dialogue on regional and global developments. PM Modi had a conversation with Chancellor Scholz early January and Foreign Minister Dr. Jaishankar was in Germany just last week.
India and Germany have strong economic linkages. Germany is India’s 7th largest global trading partner; and the 7th largest FDI source. Our partnership has diversified, over the years, to include skill development, water and waste management. We are now looking at Climate Action and Green Energy.
Significantly, this year Germany assumed the Presidency of G7 and from December, India will assume the Chairmanship of G20 - forums where important political and economic decisions are taken.
In the context of foreign and security policies, I would highlight three issues:
One, the evolving situation in Ukraine – that has implications for Europe’s security architecture and on global energy security. We would like to hear from our German participants their assessment on why diplomatic efforts have not succeeded? What can be a way-forward? Will the conflict spread?
Second, the Indo-Pacific region is also a theatre of geo-political competition. India’s concept is of a free, open and inclusive Indo Pacific region based upon adherence to UNCLOS that includes right to freedom of navigation for all, in international waters. German frigate Bayern was in the Indo Pacific region in January. Earlier, Germany had issued its own Indo Pacific guidelines in September 2020. India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative seeks partnerships in seven pillars ranging from maritime security to maritime ecology and maritime resources. What could be the areas of convergence between our approaches? What is the assessment of China’s assertive policies in the region?
Third – is the complex situation in Afghanistan, where terrorist groups are still operating freely. Germany like India, had been actively involved in development projects in Afghanistan. It was also the second largest troop contributor to NATO. Hence, both India and Germany have stakes in the stability of Afghanistan. Immediate concern is getting across humanitarian assistance. India is doing its part. In addition to half a million doses of Covid Vaccines and some essential lifesaving medicines, just recently India sent a consignment of wheat. However, formation of a truly inclusive and representative government is essential for long-term stability in Afghanistan.
The second session of our dialogue is on Sustainable Development and Trade. Even though Covid challenges remain, there are several opportunities for Indo-German economic cooperation in areas such as disaster resilient infrastructure, green energy and green financing, sustainable supply chains.
I am confident that our dialogue today will be productive and stimulating.