Urging the international community to treat terrorism as “sensitively” as nuclear proliferation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday that collective pressure should be brought on countries which provide shelter to terrorists, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
Addressing a joint press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Modi said: “The spread of terrorism is growing and its character is changing. The threat is coming close to us across every region of the world. We need a comprehensive global strategy to deal with this global challenge, in which India and Germany can work together.”
“Equally, in the coming days, maritime cyber and space security will be a matter of concern to everyone and we should increase our cooperation in this area as well.”
“We need to work on how we can stop sources from where the weapons are supplied. How we can put pressure on the countries where governments provide shelter to terrorists… We need to isolate such countries and governments,” he said.
Modi’s remarks came days after a Pakistan court released Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander and the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
Merkel too said Germany and India have agreed on a united fight against terrorism, calling it a global challenge.
The two leaders, in a joint statement, also agreed to “support the respective programmes and efforts in India and Germany to broaden knowledge of each other’s languages among the youth in accordance with the national policy of each country”.
This comes in the wake of a controversy last year over the government’s decision to replace German with Sanskrit as the third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas. The government had maintained that teaching German as a third language in schools violated the Indian Constitution.
“India’s secularism is not so weak that it will be shaken just because of a language. One should have self-confidence, self-confidence should not be shaken,” Modi said.
“In Hannover, she (Merkel) accepted the invitation of India’s Lion to raise the level of Germany’s engagement in India and assured me of a strong response by Germany’s Eagle. I believe that there will be a strong partnership between the King of the Earth, Lion, and the King of the Skies, the Eagle.”
“When I last came to Berlin, Germany was successful in winning the World Cup final. This time in Berlin, I feel that we will also be successful in taking the strategic partnership between India and Germany to new heights,” he said.
“Whenever anyone in India talks about technology, manufacturing or high quality, Germany is the first country that comes to the mind. So, it is natural that when India has embarked on a new journey for ‘Make in India’ for economic development and employment, we look forward to Germany’s strong partnership.”
“I have also decided that we will establish a mechanism for German companies to facilitate their investment and business in India,” he said.
The joint statement said the two leaders “agreed to encourage our respective ministries/departments to take proactive steps to advance our collaboration” in the following areas:
* Manufacturing: Utilize the momentum generated by India’s participation in the Hannover Messe to foster stronger ties between business and industry on both sides in order to support India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Greater investments, a positive investment climate and technology partnerships are crucial for the success of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative
* Skill development: Expand existing Indo-German cooperation through new initiatives, including a roadmap for enhancing employability of trainees and apprentices by strengthening industry involvement in skills development, as in the German dual system.
* Urban development: Strengthen the bilateral cooperation through the establishment of a working group on urban development. Support development of urban planning and infrastructure in India, including cooperation in the development of new areas of collaboration and mutual benefit in the development of smart cities in India; setting up peer-to-peer network of municipalities for direct collaboration; and, assistance in the area of affordable housing.
* Environment: Strengthen the bilateral cooperation through the establishment of two working groups in the areas of water and waste management.
* Railways: Support for the modernisation of the railway infrastructure including setting up of semi high-speed and high-speed railways and training and skill development of personnel in the rail sector starting with signalling and telecommunications and a high-speed rail system.
* Cleaning of rivers: Following the completion of the Ganga Scoping Mission in October 2014 by Germany, develop cooperation on Ganga river rejuvenation strategies, capacity support for urban sanitation, setting up of standards, approaches to industrial pollution and innovative financial models.
* Renewable energy: Support India’s proposed objective of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 through technical and financial support for developing comprehensive solar rooftop and green energy corridor projects in India.
* Education: Promote closer educational exchanges, including through setting up of an International Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, strengthening collaboration between universities in India and Germany through the Indo German Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education programme, and enhancing the exchange of scientists between both countries — for example, in the framework of India’s GIAN initiative.
* Science and technology: Both sides declared their intent to promote closer R&D cooperation in science, technology and innovation, in particular through extending the tenure of the bi-national Indo-German Science & Technology Center in India with appropriate resources, the cooperation arrangement between Ministry of Earth Sciences, India and Helmholtz Association, Germany for institutional collaboration in the area of earth sciences, and understanding between National Council of Science Museums in India and Leibniz Association, Germany on closer cooperation in science communication.
* Strengthening efforts towards carrying on negotiations for an ambitious EU India Free Trade Agreement with a view to its early conclusion.— (With PTI)