[Editorial] Need for a Powerful India-German Partnership for Indo-Pacific

indo-german relations

What the editorial is about?

The importance of the Indo-Pacific region from Germany’s point of view and how India can prove as a key strategic partner for Germany in this area.

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Context:

After having visited Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region, the German Navy frigate Bayern landed in Mumbai on January 20, 2022. This is a remarkable step for Indo-German relations.

What is so special about the German Military Vessel –The Bayern?

It’s Objective

  • Our message is one of cooperation and inclusiveness. But inclusiveness does not mean blind equidistance.
  • We will not stand by when the multilateral order is challenged and when attempts are made to try to place the law of power over the power of law.

It’s Significance

  • The Bayern participated in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union missions Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean Sea and Operation ATALANTA — formally European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia — in the Arabian Sea.
  • The Bayern also helped monitor United Nations sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

How can the visit of the German Navy frigate be evaluated?

Germany has realised that the world’s political and economic centre of gravity is, to a large degree, shifting to the Indo-Pacific region, with India as a key player, strategic partner and long-standing democratic friend at the hub. Here is where a significant part of the future international order is being shaped.

The visit of the Bayern is a concrete outcome of the Indo-Pacific Policy Guidelines that Germany adopted in autumn 2020 and the European Union’s Indo-Pacific Strategy published last year.

Why did Germany come up with such guidelines now?

Germany is determined to contribute to buttressing the rules-based international order at a time when it is exposed to grave challenges.

For Europe, just like for India, it is vital that trade routes stay open, that freedom of navigation is upheld and that disputes are resolved peacefully on the basis of international law.

India is a maritime powerhouse and a strong advocate for free and inclusive trade — and, therefore, a primary partner on that mission.

The Indo-Pacific, with India as its centrepiece, looms large in Germany’s and the European Union’s foreign policy mainly because

The Economic Interests

  • The Indo-Pacific region is home to around 65% of the global population and 20 of the world’s 33 megacities.
  • The region accounts for 62% of global GDP and 46% of the world’s merchandise trade.
  • Germany is a trading nation as much as India. More than 20% of German trade is conducted in the Indo-Pacific neighbourhood.

Combating Climate Change

  • The Indo-pacific region is also the source of more than half of all global carbon emissions.
  • This makes the region’s countries key partners in tackling global challenges such as climate change and sustainable energy production and consumption.

Current Indo-Germany Ties

  • Olaf Scholz took the helm of the German government in December 2021 after 16 years of Angela Merkel’s chancellorship.
  • During their inaugural conversation, the German Chancellor and the Prime Minister of India agreed that as major democracies and strategic partners, India and Germany will step up their cooperation to tackle common challenges, with climate change on top of the agenda.

How Important is Germany for India?

  • Germany cooperates with India to the tune of €1.3 billion a year in development projects, 90% of which serves the purpose of fighting climate change, saving natural resources as well as promoting clean and green energy. No country receives more such support from Germany than India.

How Significant is India for Germany?

  • It is quite clear and evident that no global problem can be solved without India’s active involvement.
  • The role of India to play in the Indo-Pacific Region
  • Germany will hold the G7 Presidency this year, and India will assume the same role for the G20 from December 2022. This can be seen as an opportunity for joint and coordinated action.

The areas where India and Germany converge

  • Both India and Germany are committed to working on a sustainable path for India’s growth that will benefit both our countries.
  • Both the nations are putting into practice what they have agreed upon at COP26 in Glasgow.

Way Forward

  • Germany sees India as an important partner for resolving global issues, such as climate change, food security, energy and international peace and security. This offers an opportunity for India to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two.
  • This visit sends a signal of friendship and cooperation as India celebrates 75 years of independence as the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to India rightly said- “We are setting sail for a powerful partnership, in calm waters and heavy seas alike. And hopefully, we will exceed your expectations, every once in a while.”

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