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German FM Baerbock embarks on her first trip to India

December 5, 2022

On her first visit to India, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock signed a mobility agreement and addressed the climate crisis.

German Foreign Minister Baerbock with her Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar in New Delhi. Dec. 5
Germany and India established diplomatic relations 71 years agoImage: Carsten Koall/dpa/picture alliance

During her two-day visit to India starting Monday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock looked set to focus her talks with Indian politicians on environmental issues and a rules-based international order.

She touched down on Monday morning, hosting a press conference with her counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar mid afternoon local time. 

What was discussed on Monday?

Baerbock along with her Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar signed a mobility partnership pact on Monday to make it easier for people to study and work in each other's country.

The top diplomats said during a press conference they talked about a host of issues, including the war in Ukraine and climate issues.

Baerbock said she sees in India great potential for cooperation on economic and security issues. Asked whether she saw India as a replacement partner for China, Baerbock said she didn't, adding that India has always been a great partner for Germany and the European Union.

"With India, we are connected not just through a partnership in the economic sense... rather we are connected with India through a values partnership," she said during the conference.

Baerbock, who was on her first official visit to India, told reporters she felt like the visit was "to see a good friend."

"The fact that India is prepared to use its weight revealed itself recently at the G20 summit in Bali. The clear position taken by the G20 against the Russian invasion of Ukraine is due in the end to India," Baerbock said before her departure for New Delhi on Sunday. 

War in Ukraine dominates G20 summit in Bali

Shaping future

Baerbock underlined the importance of India in the world. "As a rising economic power and established democracy, India is both an example and a bridge-builder for many countries in the world, despite its social challenges domestically," Baerbock said before leaving for India.

India will overtake China as the most populous country in the world as early as next year. "There is no doubt that India will decisively influence the shaping of the international order in the 21st century," Baerbock added.

Climate change and India's water supply

On Thursday, India officially took over as chair of the G20, comprising most of the world's largest economies. However, India, a nuclear power with some 1.4 billion inhabitants, has refused to participate in sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries and abstained on UN resolutions on the war in Ukraine.

Strategic partners

Baerbock earlier announced that she would sign a mobility agreement in New Delhi "that will make it easier for our people to study, conduct research and to work in each other's country."

India and Germany have maintained a strategic partnership since 2000 and have held intergovernmental consultations every two years since 2011, most recently in Berlin in early May. The two countries established diplomatic relations 71 years ago.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial site
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock scattered petals, as is custom, at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial siteImage: Carsten Koall/dpa/picture alliance

At the start of her first official trip to India, Baerbock visited a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, a key figure in India's struggle for independence from Britain. Baerbock scattered rose petals at the site where Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. 

rm, dh/sri (dpa, AFP)