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Germany observing India’s elections with admiration: Ambassador Philipp Ackermann

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Introduction: Ambassador highlighted India’s significance in global affairs, citing its recent Presidency of the G20 as a precursor to its growing influence.

Article: Germany’s Ambassador to India, Philipp Ackermann, expressed admiration for India’s upcoming elections, stating that regardless of the outcome, India’s presence on the international stage is set to expand.

Speaking at an event hosted by a private university, Ackermann highlighted India’s significance in global affairs, citing its recent Presidency of the G20 as a precursor to its growing influence. “Amid global challenges such as the Iran-Israel conflict, the Russia-Ukraine war, climate-change crisis, and other international issues, India’s rising prominence is noteworthy, showcasing the country’s democratic values in the upcoming elections,” Ackermann noted.

India’s Elections and her global role: 

He described the elections as a ‘festival of democracy’ and underscored Germany’s admiration for India’s democratic process. Regardless of the election results, Ackermann predicted that India’s role in global affairs would continue to strengthen. “The G20 Presidency gave us a little taste of that. India claims a seat at the big table, and we, Germans and Europeans, think rightfully so. Whether it’s the UNSC or elsewhere, India is, and has to become more visible and recognised,” he added.

India’s yearlong presidency of the influential bloc had begun on December 1, 2022, leading up to the G20 Summit last September where the New Delhi Declaration was announced.

“The New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit held on September 9-10 brought the deliberations under our G20 Presidency to a successful culmination. With the G20 including all P5 countries, and accounting for 85 percent of global GDP, 75 percent of world trade and two-thirds of world population, it was the highest profile international gathering in the history of independent India,” reads a synopsis on G20 Indian Presidency website.

“But it is a role, one should not forget that comes with high hopes also. More than ever, India will be assessed by many. Not only the countries of the so-called ‘Global South’, but its international appearance and policies will be vetted,” Ackermann said.

“And now many governments are reaching out to India, including the German government, ‘as we expect India to play a bigger role in international politics’,” he said.

The International Rules-based order

Speaking at the event hosted by the OP Jindal Global University, the envoy in his address on ‘India-Europe Partnership in a Multipolar World’, praised India’s foreign policy and said that it is in India’s interests to develop a strong and solid partnership with Europe, including with Germany. “I think, we are very much on the way… Both India and Europe have a profound interest to maintain the international rules-based order,” he said.

Emphasizing on the critical importance of maintaining the international rules-based order, the Ambassador said that this order serves as the cornerstone for achieving shared goals between India and Europe, primarily focused on societal development and prosperity for the Indian people.  “We need to maintain free navigation routes and undisturbed trade routes. We need to fight danger from aggressive regimes, we need to try to mitigate the consequences of climate change, and all this can be done if we work under the umbrella that secures your moves and activities.” He reiterated that these objectives can only be effectively pursued within a framework that ensures stability and cooperation, stating, “This is where India, Germany and Europe have converging interests.”

The Ambassador underlined that the partnership between Europe and India, particularly Indo-German cooperation, extends beyond governmental interactions to involve numerous non-state actors. This inclusive approach, encompassing various stakeholders across the subcontinent, is seen as pivotal for fostering collaboration in academic and economic domains. He remarked, “It is a partnership where many non-state actors will be involved and will play their role.

Economic partnership and FTA

Acknowledging India’s status as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the Ambassador expressed optimism about the increasing engagement of German businesses in India. With over 2000 German companies operating in India, there is a growing recognition of India’s potential as a favored investment destination.

Moreover, the Ambassador noted the alignment of Germany’s de-risking policy with China, highlighting India’s prominence as a strategic alternative. He noted, “Talking of the German Government’s de-risking policy with China, India immediately comes to mind when Germany does the de-risking reflection.”

Looking ahead, the Ambassador discussed the ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the EU, underscoring its significance for enhancing German business sentiment towards India. He emphasized the need for concerted efforts from both Indian and EU counterparts to expedite the conclusion of the FTA, which is deemed a top priority for the German government.

While noting the substantial trade balance of $33 billion between India and Germany, the Ambassador highlighted the potential for further growth, particularly through the implementation of the FTA. “We have a trade balance of 33 billion dollars between India and Germany which makes us the biggest partner in the EU, however it could be better.”

Indo-German Academic and Research collaboration

The Ambassador in his speech also highlighted the extensive academic and research collaboration between Indian and German universities and centers, encompassing 500 academic projects. He said that these collaborations between the two counties benefit both sides.

“These initiatives, aimed at facilitating the transfer of technology, are seen as integral to fostering mutual benefits and advancing bilateral relations. Transfer of technology is a key element in our bilateral relations”, said the Ambassador.

Besides the economical and academic cooperation, the Ambassador also stressed on the climate change issues and said the conversation is not possible without India being on table. “India and Germany have joined hands for green and sustainable development and it is a very concrete partnership”, he said.

Concluding his speech, the Ambassador said that Indo-German partnership is a very lively one. “There’s hard power like defense and technology-transfer, and there is soft power including student-exchange programs. The Indo-German partnership covers an enormously broad range of fields of common interests and I am confident that it will grow in the coming months”, said the Ambassador.

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