New Delhi: Olaf Scholz’s visit to India is the first standalone one by any German Chancellor since the commencement of the Inter-Governmental Consultation (IGC) mechanism between the two countries in 2011.
His visit coincides with the completion of one year of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and comes after the recent Chinese spy balloon episode that has created ripples in world geopolitics. Many things, including economic cooperation, the Green and Sustainable Development Partnership (GSDP) and Indo-Pacific are on the agenda when he meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend.
The IGC is a whole-of-government mechanism which brings together ministers and officials from both sides, who hold discussions in their domain areas and then report on the discussions during a plenary session chaired by PM Modi and Chancellor Scholz.
The Chancellor’s visit comes after a year of renewed engagement between India and Germany. PM Modi and Chancellor Scholz met on three occasions in 2022: For the 6th India-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultations (May 2, 2022) when PM visited Berlin, with his delegation (Finance Minister, EAM, NSA, MOS (I/C) DST and Secretary DPIIT); Chancellor invited PM for the G7 Summit held under German Presidency in June 2022 in Schloss Elmau, Bavaria, for which India was a partner country and the two leaders interacted on the sidelines of the G20 Summit held in Bali in November 2022.
India and Germany share a strong economic partnership. Germany is India’s largest trade partner in the European Union and has consistently been among India’s top 10 global trade partners. It is also one of the largest foreign direct investors in India.
As a symbol of close economic ties and the strong potential for enhanced cooperation, Chancellor Scholz will be accompanied by a high-powered business delegation. During the visit, PM Modi and Chancellor Scholz will also address a Business Roundtable, comprising top industry leaders from both sides.
The visit will see the conclusion of B2B agreements.
India and Germany launched the GSDP during the PM’s visit to Berlin for the 6th IGC. The GSDP is an umbrella partnership that provides political guidance and steers to robust ties in climate action and SDGs.
Under this, Germany will also place 10 billion euros in new and additional commitments under their development cooperation portfolio in India. Around 983 million euros of new commitments were finalised during the Annual Negotiation Meeting (ANM) held on November 28, 2022, in Delhi.
During the IGC, India and Germany also agreed to cooperate on Green Hydrogen. The Indo-German Green Hydrogen Task Force was constituted in September 2022 and an Action Plan is close to finalization.
During the 6th IGC, India and Germany agreed to work on development projects in third countries under the framework of Triangular Development Cooperation.
The four projects announced in May 2022 are now in different stages of implementation -
a) Cameroon: Potato Seed Production through Rooted Apical Cuttings (RAC) Technology
b) Malawi: Agri-Business Incubator Models for Women in Agriculture & Food Systems
c) Ghana: Developing Bamboo-Based Enterprises for Sustainable Livelihood and Income Generation in Ghana
d) Peru: Development of a geospatial portal prototype for planning, monitoring, and evaluation of Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion of Peru (MIDIS) interventions and social programs
Meanwhile, Germany has boarded the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI). German naval frigate Bayern was on a 7-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific from August 2021 and made a port call in Mumbai on January 21, 2022.
Scholz’s visit in 2023 will imbue fresh momentum to the bilateral relations, which saw renewed engagement and focus in 2022.
Apart from PM Modi’s meetings with Chancellor, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited India on 05-06 December 2022.
There have been several Parliamentary delegations from Germany, including the India-Germany Parliamentary Friendship Group (January 29-February 4, 2023) and the Budget Committee of the German Parliament (February 13-17, 2023).