India and Germany have witnessed an upward trend in their bilateral relations during the tenure of PM Modi and Chancellor Merkel. The latter is currently on a two-day visit to India and the bilateral relations between the two countries received a major shot in the arm as both the leaders signed 17 MoUs and 5 joint declarations of intent.
The agreements were diverse as both the countries focused on the fields of agriculture, maritime technology, Ayurveda and yoga among others. The joint declarations of intent included cooperation on strategic projects, partnership for green urban mobility, research and development on artificial intelligence and cooperation in the field of prevention of marine litter.
The agreements are proof that ties between the countries are marching ahead in the area of technology as Merkel pledged to engage in the big infrastructure projects that are under the pipeline.
Angela Merkel also pushed for a free trade deal with India which the European Union has been seeking for the last ten years. “We need a new attempt for an EU-Indian FTA. We were already close once,” Merkel said adding that she had an intensive discussion on the matter with PM Modi.
Both the countries came out with a joint declaration which stated: “Merkel and PM Modi reiterated that the Indo-German Strategic Partnership is based on the common values and principles of democracy, free and fair trade, and rules-based international order, as well as on mutual trust and respect. Key issues in the discussions included jointly driving the digital transformation through innovation and frontier technologies, especially artificial intelligence, making economic growth sustainable by cooperating on climate change, creating space for people to people contacts through legal mobility for skilled labour, and contributing to a reliable international order by strengthening and updating multilateral institutions.”
PM Modi has always strived to explore new and advanced technology and the declaration further states his intent to showcase India’s technological prowess as a pact was signed for cooperation in inland, coastal and maritime technology.
Chancellor Merkel reinforced the broad-based ties that the two countries share and stressed on the “very close” ties shared by the two countries. While some leaders can only talk on the environment, both Merkel and Modi have shown in the past that they are ready to walk their talk on the environment.
Both the leaders expressed grave concern about the currently inadequate global level of climate action and called on all countries to step up their efforts as Germany has pledged to give 1 billion euros to India to lower Green House Gas effect.
The joint statement stressed on sustainable mobility and stated that: “Both sides agreed to foster cooperation on low-carbon mobility solutions and welcomed the signing of the new Joint Declaration of Intent on the Indo-German Partnership on Green Urban Mobility wherein the German side expressed its readiness to provide additional finance of 1 billion euros to support improvements of green urban mobility infrastructure and services and strengthen capacities of national, state and local institutions to design and implement sustainable, inclusive and smart mobility solutions in Indian cities.”
India and Germany also agreed to dedicate a part of the 35 million euros under the framework of the bilateral call of the International Climate Initiative to grid expansion and storage systems for renewable energy and a part to forest landscape restoration as new models for forest landscape restoration can contribute to India’s goal to attain 33 per cent forest cover.
Germany also expressed keenness to join PM Modi’s pet project the International Solar Alliance (ISA) which is fast gaining prominence as India assumes the mantle of climate leadership. It is clear that the bilateral meet had two clear winners: climate and technology.