Bilateral relations between Germany and India are based on a sound foundation of mutual respect, understanding and support. The cooperation between both countries covers a wide range of areas from political action and growing economic exchange to landmark cultural events. It is complementary as India and Germany both contribute their particular and unique strengths to this truly strategic partnership.
The Indian government recently launched a number of remodeling programmes, where Germany can bring in its expertise. Concepts of vocational training, promotion of renewable energies, improved urban mobility and the rehabilitation of rivers are a part of these programmes. On the other hand India has highly qualified IT-experts, who are also most interesting for the German industry. Apart from that the Indian market offers enormous growth potential.
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. In the following years both the countries directed the focus of further collaboration on future fields like energy, science and technology as well as defence and adopted subsequent declarations.
Indo-German intergovernmental consultations: a unique format
Early October 2015 German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting New Delhi with members of her cabinet for the third Indo-German intergovernmental consultations. India keeps such a broad dialogue format at government level only with Germany. The last intergovernmental consultations had taken place in Berlin in April 2013.
Furthermore, there has been a range of other political meetings between heads of states, government members and members of parliament of Germany and India. Together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the Hannover Fair in April 2015, which had India as partner country. The Prime Minister combined his trip to Hannover with an official visit to the German capital, Berlin. In February 2014 the President of Germany Joachim Gauck had chosen India as the destination for his first official visit in Asia. The German-Indian parliamentary group of the German Bundestag (Parliament) visited India in February 2015 with a comprehensive political programme in New Delhi.
Also in the cultural cooperation there were many highlights in the last years: After the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the initiation of the diplomatic relations with India in the year 2011 ensued a German year in India under the motto: “Infinite possibilities – Germany and India 2011-2012”. With the theme “StadtRäume – CitySpaces” the festival travelled through five Indian metro cities – New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune. In September 2013 the German Embassy organized the historic and worldwide broadcasted “Kashmir concert” with Zubin Mehta and the Bavarian state orchestra in the Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar.
History of longstanding relations
The history of Indo-German political relations goes back to the late nineteenth century, when the ‘Imperial German Consulate’ (Kaiserlich Deutsches Generalkonsulat) started operating from Calcutta (now Kolkata). However, it was only after WWII that diplomatic relations between the two countries gained prominence. 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 Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1951, leading to the establishment of a full-fledged Embassy in New Delhi in 1952. In the same year, Germany’s first Ambassador arrived in Delhi and India’s first Ambassador took charge in Bonn.
Cooperation on a global stage
Today, India and Germany are important partners on the international stage. Both countries have joined forces to tackle the challenges of a globalised world, such as the impact of climate change, international terrorism, establishment of a stable and sustainable global economic order, and the necessity of a reform of the United Nations. Besides this Germany and India are both members of the G20 and work closely with each other in many international organisations.