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India-Germany Relations

Bilateral relations between India and Germany are founded on common democratic principles and are marked by a high degree of trust and mutual respect. India was amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War. Relations grew significantly following the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. Today, Germany is amongst India's most important partners both bilaterally and in the global context. India and Germany have a 'Strategic Partnership' since 2001, which has been further strengthened with the Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC) at the level of Head of Governments which allows for a comprehensive review of cooperation and identification of fresh areas of engagement. India is amongst a select group of countries with which Germany has such a dialogue mechanism. The 4th IGC was held in Berlin on May 30, 2017 wherein 12 bilateral cooperation documents in various sectors were signed.

2. Visits/High level visits: There have been regular high-level visits from both sides, including at the highest level. PM Shri Narendra Modi undertook his first official visit to Germany in April 2015, when India was the Partner Country at the Hannover Messe-2015. PM Modi visited Germany twice in 2017: the first was a bilateral visit on May 29-30, 2017 to Berlin for the 4th IGC and was followed by a visit on July 6-8, 2017 to Hamburg to attend the G20 Summit. On the invitation of Chancellor Merkel, PM visited Berlin for a short official visit April 20, 2018, on his return journey from UK to India. Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu transited through Frankfurt in May 2018. External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj visited Germany in August 2015. German President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a State visit to India in March 2018. Chancellor Merkel visited India in 2007, 2011 and in October 2015. German Defence Minister Von der Leyen visited India in 2015.

3. Ministerial Visits: Bilateral exchanges at Ministerial level take place regularly. Recent visits from India to Germany (2018) include Smt. Smriti Irani, Minister of Textiles to attend HEIMTEXTIL Fair in Frankfurt in January 2018; Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, MoS for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare to Berlin in January 2018 to attend GFFA/G-20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting; Shri Ajay Tamta, Mos (Textiles) visited Frankfurt in February 2018 to participate in the Ambienete Fair 2018; Shri K.J Alphons, MoS (IC) Tourism to attend ITB in Berlin in March, 2018. From the German side, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Mueller visited Delhi on 5th April 2017.

4. Parliamentary Exchanges: The Indo-German Parliamentary Friendship Group, which was established in German Bundestag in 1971, has contributed to strengthening links between the two Parliaments. Several Parliamentarians from both sides have exchanged visits in recent times. The Indo-German Parliamentary Friendship Group (constituted in May 2018) for the present term of German Parliament consists of 21 Members and is led by Mr. Dirk Wiese.

5. Institutionalized Cooperation Arrangements for bilateral, regional and global issues: Several institutionalized arrangements exist between India and Germany to discuss bilateral and global issues of interest namely, Foreign Office Consultations, High Technology Partnership Group, High Defence Committee, Indo-German Energy Forum, Indo-German Environment Forum, India-Germany Committee on S&T and Joint Working Groups in various fields, including skill development, automotive, agriculture, coal, tourism, water and waste management. Germany and India cooperate on the issue of UNSC expansion within the framework of G-4. Both countries consult each other in G-20 on global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, etc. There have been consultations between the two countries on regional and international issues such as UN issues, Disarmament & Non-proliferation, Export Controls, East Asia, etc. India and Germany regularly hold bilateral Cyber Consultations and Policy Planning Dialogue. Some of the States and Cities of both countries have entered into twinning arrangements. Karnataka and Bavaria (Germany) have Sister States arrangement since 2007. Similarly, Mumbai and Stuttgart (Germany) are sister cities since 1968. In January 2015, Maharashtra and Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany) signed an MoU to establish a Sister State relationship.

6. Defence Cooperation: India-Germany Defence Cooperation Agreement (2006) provides a framework for bilateral defence cooperation. The defence dialogue mechanisms include High Defence Committee meetings at the level of Defence Secretaries. Both sides have had detailed discussion on defence cooperation during the visit of German Defence Minister to India in May 2015. Delegations of the National Defence College (NDC) and College of Defence Management (CDM) have visited Germany in 2016 and 2017.

7. Economic & Commercial Relations: Germany is India's largest trading partner in Europe. India was ranked 26th in Germany's global trade during 2017. Bilateral trade in 2017 was valued at €19.15 billion. Apart from traditional sectors, knowledge-driven sectors hold good potential for collaboration. Germany is the 7th largest foreign direct investor in India since January 2000. Germany's total FDI in India from April 2000 until December 2017 amounted to US$ 10.71 billion. There are more than 1600 Indo-German collaborations and over 600 Indo-German Joint Ventures in operation. German investments in India are mainly in the sectors of transportation, electrical equipment, metallurgical industries, services sector (particularly insurance), chemicals, construction activity, trading and automobiles. Indian Corporate entities have invested over US$ 7 billion in Germany. There are more than 200 Indian companies operating in Germany. Important sectors in Germany for Indian investments are IT, automotive, pharma and biotech. Germany has been an important development cooperation partner for several decades. Total bilateral Technical and Financial Cooperation since it began in 1958, amounts to €15.93 billion. Energy, sustainable economic development and environment & management of natural resources are priority areas under development cooperation.

Indo-German Bilateral Trade (in €billion)

 

2015

2016

2017

2018 (Jan-March)

Total Trade

17.33

17.42

19.15

4.87

Indian Exports

7.56

7.62

8.46

2.23

Indian Imports

9.77

9.80

10.69

2.64

Balance of Trade

-2.21

-2.18

-2.23

-0.41

Major Indian Exports to Germany

Textiles, Metal & Metal Products, Electro Technology, Leather & Leather Goods, Food & Beverages, Machinery, Pharmaceuticals, Auto Components, Chemicals, Gems & Jewellery and Rubber Products

Major Indian Imports from Germany

Machinery, Electro Technology, Metal & Metal Products, Chemicals, Auto Components, Measurement & Control Equipment, Plastics, Medical Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Paper & Printing Materials

(Source: Federal Statistical Office, Wiesbaden)

8. Facilitating Trade: A Fast-Track System for German companies has been set up in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), as agreed between the two sides at the 3rd Inter Governmental Consultations. To facilitate the entry of German Mittelstand in India, the Embassy of India, Berlin had launched the Make in India Mittelstand (MIIM) Programme in September 2015. Currently, 113 German Mittelstand (MSMEs) companies are being facilitated through MIIM Programme for their market entry and investment in India. Out of these, 70 companies have progressed well with their Indian investment plans.

9. Science & Technology: Indo-German Science & Technology cooperation started with the signing of the Intergovernmental S&T Cooperation Agreement in 1971 and 1974. Presently, there are more than 150 joint S&T research projects and 70 direct partnerships between the Universities of both countries. India's scientific establishments have close partnerships with premier German R&D institutions, including the Max Planck Society, Fraunhofer Laboratories and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The jointly funded Indo-German Science & Technology Centre was set up in 2008 in Gurgaon. The mandate of the Centre has been extended till 2022 with a contribution of 4 million per year by each side. India has invested in major science projects in Germany such as the Facility for Anti-Proton and Ion Research (FAIR) at Darmstadt and the Deutsche Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY) for experiments in advanced materials and particle physics. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has launched 10 German satellites since 1999, most recently in June 2016. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) facilitates joint research, training and exchange of young scientists/research scholars. The GIAN Initiative has been well-received in Germany and so far around 80 German academicians have been selected for teaching in higher educational institutes of India. Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha is supporting research in Ayurveda at Charite Medical University, Berlin on Osteoarthritis of the knee, which is the first systematic clinical trial for use of Ayurveda in Europe.

10. Culture: India and Germany have a long tradition of academic and cultural exchange. Max Mueller was the first scholar of Indo-European languages to translate and publish Upanishads and Rigveda. There has been growing interest in Germany in Indian dance, music and literature as well as motion picture and TV industry, in particular Bollywood. Indian films and artists regularly feature at the Berlin International Film Festival and at other festivals all over Germany. A delegation led by Karan Johar from Ministry of Information & Broadcasting participated at the Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) in February 2018. Indian cuisine is very popular in Germany. The Indo-German Society is engaged in promoting inter-cultural understanding by bringing together people of both countries and conveying information about modern India to the German public. German interest in the Indian philosophy and languages resulted in the first Chair of Indology at the University of Bonn in 1818. The Government of India has funded several rotating chairs of Indian studies in German Universities. There have been 31 Short-term rotating chairs in various German universities till date.

11. Indians in Germany: There are about 1,69,000 people of Indian origin (2017 figures) in Germany including both German and Indian Passport holders. The Indian diaspora mainly comprises of professionals, technocrats, businessmen/traders and nurses. There has been an increase in the last few years in the number of qualified Indian professionals in the fields of IT, banking, finance, etc. There are a number of Indian organizations and associations active on the business/cultural front, cementing ties between India and Germany at the people-to-people level. About 15,000 Indian students are pursuing various courses in Germany. Around 800 German students are studying or doing internships in India.

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June 14, 2018

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Last updated on : 18-06-2018