India and Germany Friday inked 17 agreements and five joint declarations of intent and in fields including space, civil aviation, maritime technology, medicine and education during the 5th Indo-German Inter-Governmental Consultations.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on a two-day visit to India, said the agreements prove that ties between the countries are marching ahead in the area of new and advanced technology. Merkel reached New Delhi Thursday night and was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi the next morning at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where she was accorded a ceremonial welcome. The two leaders then met at the Hyderabad House for the Consultations.
Watch India and Germany’s joint statement
Meanwhile, Merkel went about her outdoor engagements without wearing a mask, when Delhi’s Air Quality Index entered the “severe plus” or “emergency” category late on Thursday night, the first time since January.
“We have vowed to build ‘new India’ by 2022 and expertise of technological, economic powerhouses like Germany will be useful for it,” Modi said in his press statement after the meeting.
Terrorism and extremism
The two countries resolved to to intensify bilateral and multilateral cooperation to deal with the threats of terrorism and extremism, Modi said after holding wide-range talks with Merkel.
India and Germany will continue cooperation to expedite reforms in UN Security Council, Modi said.
The Prime Minister also said that India has invited Germany to take advantage of opportunities in defence production in the defence corridors of UP and Tamil Nadu. “We have decided to tap cooperation possibilities in e-mobility, smart cities, cleaning of rivers and environmental protection,” Modi said.
During the IGC, India and Germany agreed to provide financial support to climate initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with the latter expressing its readiness to provide one billion euros to India for green urban mobility.
In a joint statement, the leaders said both the countries concurred that providing low-carbon and sustainable mobility solutions that serve the needs of all citizens is a key challenge for both emerging and industrialised economies.
“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,” it said.
Modi and Merkel acknowledged their joint responsibility for the protection of the planet and mitigating climate change through enhanced promotion of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency and at the same time reducing their carbon footprint.
“For both countries, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement serve as guiding frameworks in their cooperation. They underlined that for a successful energy and transport transition in India and in Germany both countries need to closely cooperate, to learn from each other and to capitalise on the economic potential of climate protection,” the joint statement said.
The countries 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.
Free trade pact with EU
Concluding the meeting, the two leaders announced in a joint statement that India and Germany have agreed to deepen efforts to resume stalled negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the European Union (EU).
“Both sides confirmed the importance of a balanced free trade agreement between India and the EU and agreed to deepen efforts to restart negotiations between the EU and India on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA),” the statement said.
The negotiations for the pact have been held up since May 2013 as both the sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues.
Both sides also agreed to intensify efforts for an early conclusion of an investment protection agreement between the EU, the EU member states and India.
With regard to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), they stressed on restoring full functioning of WTO dispute settlement system and reform the organisation without undermining its fundamental principles such as special and differential treatment, consensus based decision making and development objectives.
Signing a declaration of intent for cooperation in the field of skills development and vocational education and training, India and Germany agreed to take further steps to increase student exchange between the two countries. The two leaders welcomed the “Indo-German Partnerships on Higher Education”.
“We have discussed issues of education and research cooperation. We have a long tradition of cooperation in this field and 20,000 Indian nationals are studying in this field and we would like to see even more, and especially when it comes to vocational training. We want exchange of teachers too, which will help us find the right teaching methods.
“It is a big part of our cooperation. We will be happy to engage in big infrastructure projects that you are envisaging and developing further in terms of sustainable development,” Merkel said.
Both nations agreed to take further steps to increase the number of Indian students studying in Germany, which presently stands at 20,800, and the number of German students studying in India, the joint statement said.
“Simultaneously, both sides recognised the importance of promotion of teaching modern Indian languages in German educational institutions as envisaged in the Joint Declaration of Intent signed in 2015,” it added.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Emphasising that AI will fundamentally impact the way the world lives and works in the coming years, the two leaders intend to work together to foster, encourage and develop cooperation on AI technologies and promote innovation.
“Germany and India agreed on working together closely to conduct joint bilateral and/or multilateral research and development activities on the development and use of AI,” the statement said.
As per the statement, German and Indian digital companies will jointly work towards enhancing scope of market opportunity and bilateral investments.
“Germany and India agreed on consulting each other on identifying best possible approaches on cyber security and also device methods to identify areas of mutual cooperation in this regard,” it said.