New Delhi: India and Germany on Monday backed the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel favoured a rules-based world order in the backdrop of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) and a more inward-looking US under President Donald Trump.
In Berlin for his second bilateral visit and for the fourth Inter Governmental Consultations (IGC), Modi said a “democracy and diversity based global order is the need of the hour" as he and Merkel reviewed Indo-German ties along with senior ministers of both countries.
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Modi is Merkel’s first guest from Asia this week—Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is expected to visit Berlin later this week. The twin visits coupled with Merkel’s comments about the reliability of the US as an ally and her urging Europeans to “really take our fate into our own hands," have raised eyebrows in many world capitals and media speculation that Merkel was looking for new allies against the backdrop of Brexit and a less-than comfortable relationship with US President Donald Trump.
According to news reports, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) meeting of the US and its allies last week was overshadowed by Trump accusing the others of contributing less resources than the US. And Trump’s refusal to commit to the 2015 Paris climate change agreement at a Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized countries’ meeting did not help matters.
On Monday, after her talks with Modi, Merkel praised India for implementing the climate pact very “intensively and in a very committed way." Modi said people had no right to ruin the environment for future generations.
Merkel also spoke about the importance of “large democracies" like India in maintaining a rules-based global order. Developing cooperation with countries like India was of “huge importance" but it was in “no way directed against any other relationships and certainly not against the trans-Atlantic ties, which have historically been very important for us and will remain so in future," she said.
In his remarks, Modi said compliance with international norms in an interconnected and interdependent world would do a lot of good. He also backed Merkel’s “strong leadership" in uniting the EU.
Modi also described Berlin as a “reliable partner" in India’s development—listing skill training, infrastructure development, the creation of smart cities and cleaning of rivers as some of the areas where Asia’s third largest economy was benefitting from German expertise.
“The India-Germany partnership will help our nations and also help the world," he said.
On the EU, Modi conveyed to Merkel that “India supports a strong EU because a strong EU supports India and plays an important role in today’s global order," Randhir Jaiswal, joint secretary in-charge of Europe (West) in India’s foreign ministry told reporters.
“EU unity, proactiveness and strong relations with other countries is extremely important for global development. We want the EU to become stronger and India will play a positive role towards that through the medium of Germany," Modi said after talks with Merkel.
On the bilateral front, Modi sought an “outcome-oriented" momentum in India-Germany ties with a “quantum jump" in economic relations. “The pace of development of our relations is fast, direction positive and destination clear. Germany will always find India as a powerful, prepared and capable partner," Modi said. Talking about the threat of terrorism, Modi said humanitarian forces must unite to combat the menace.
The two countries also signed a joint declaration of intent on development initiatives, sustainable urban development, continued development of cluster managers and skill development, cooperation in the field of digitalization, cooperation in the field of railway security and promotion of vocational training.