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Germany

India's Presence Needed in International Policy, Says Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a stronger Indian presence in international policy circles. He said India is an important partner in solving the challenges of the 21st century.

Steinmeier and India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate LK Advani

Steinmeier urged India to take a larger role in global politics

The time had come to expand beyond the forum of the Group of Eight industrialized nations and find "new formats" to deal with international issues, Steinmeier said Thursday, Nov. 20.

India's participation at the world financial summit in Washington was an important step toward shifting the balance of international policy, he added.

Steinmeier, who was beginning his three-day visit to India, was to hold political discussions later Thursday with opposition leader LK Advani before meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The leaders planned to discuss responses to the global financial crisis, which the world had to face with international cooperation, Steinmeier said,

He and the Indian leaders were also to discuss ways to deal with climate change as well as the security situations in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iran's disputed nuclear program.

Steinmeier calls for more pressure on Iran

Earlier in the day, Steinmeier said the international community should keep up pressure on Iran to be transparent about its nuclear program.

Collage of Iranian and German flags with the nuclear power sign

Germany is keen to increase the pressure on Iran

"Iran is stalling at the moment in the expectation that the new American government will send a new signal," Steinmeier said in New Delhi. "International pressure should be sustained."

US President-elect Barack Obama has said he wants to engage in direct negotiations with Iran after he takes office on Jan. 20. So far, group negotiations have taken place between Iran and the US, Germany, China, Russia, Britain and France.

"Nothing changes the fact that Iran must move on this issue," Steinmeier said

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an arm of the United Nations, has not held talks in over two months with Iranian delegates on any potential military application of the country's nuclear program.

"There is no communication and no progress regarding a possible military dimension to their program," Reuters news agency quoted an IAEA representative in Vienna as saying.

Germany to decide on piracy mission

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Steinmeier said Germany would engage the Somlai pirates

Also on Thursday in New Delhi, Steinmeier said Germany is preparing its navy to take part in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden as the bandits step up their attacks off the Somali coast.

"I hope that in the next few days we will have reached a decision," Steinmeier said, two days after the Indian Navy sank a pirate ship for the first time off the coast of Somalia.

The German parliament is to decide in December whether to participate in the European Union's operations against Somali piracy. The EU's mission is set to begin on Dec. 8 with contributions from countries that include France, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Finland.

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