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Delhi a strategic partner for Berlin within Indo-Pacific framework, says German minister

Tobias Lindner, Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, Germany, says Berlin will seek to take bilateral ties with Delhi to the next level during PM Modi’s visit next week.

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New Delhi: New Delhi is a strategic partner for Berlin within the Indo-Pacific framework, and Germany will seek to take bilateral ties with India to the next level during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit next week, Tobias Lindner, Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, Germany, has said.

Speaking to ThePrint, Lindner said the Olaf Scholz government has made the Indo-Pacific framework its “topmost priority” and, hence, enhancing defence and security ties with India will be discussed between both sides during Modi’s visit.

“India is a strategic partner for Germany. The Indo-Pacific will have a higher priority for the new German government. During consultations on Monday in Berlin, we want to take this partnership to the next level,” Lindner, who is on a visit to India, said.

Germany was the second country after France to come out with its own Indo-Pacific policy under the former Angela Merkel administration in September 2020.

Lindner said both sides will seek to enhance defence and security ties between New Delhi and Berlin.

“We will not do this to threaten anyone but we want to uphold the international rules-based order,” Lindner said, hinting at the fact that Germany will continue to give strategic significance to India as it did in January this year when Berlin sent its frigate ‘Bayern’ to the Indo-Pacific region. It was also docked at the Mumbai Port.

“It will not take another 15 or 20 years when the next frigate comes… The partnership with India isn’t only about the economy, it will also be in the field of security policy,” he said.

The Ministry of External Affairs Wednesday said Prime Minister Modi will be visiting Germany, Denmark, and France on 2-4 May. This will be the PM’s first visit abroad in 2022.

In Berlin, the Prime Minister will hold bilateral talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and the two leaders will co-chair the sixth edition of the India-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC), the MEA said in a statement.

This will be the Prime Minister’s first IGC with Chancellor Scholz, and also the first such government-to-government consultations with the new German administration, which assumed office in December 2021.

Also read: German NSA ‘would have liked’ India’s support on Ukraine war at UN, but understands challenges

Germany will ‘not preach’ to India on Ukraine

According to the minister, Germany will “not teach and preach” India on what position it should take in the Russia-Ukraine war.

“The war is not only terrible for Ukraine but it’s a never-seen breach of international rules-based order since World War 2, especially for Europe,” Lindner said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, he added, “put the whole security architecture of Europe at risk”.

“Putin ignores the Charter of the UN. And I am strongly convinced that we must prove to the world that such a war of aggression must not be won in the 21st century because it will set a bad example for other countries on the planet to ignore the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries,” he said.

“We have seen India abstain in the UN (on voting against Russia), I am not here in India to teach and preach, I am more here to pull and to push. I believe India and Germany have a common interest. We want the war to stop immediately and we want to preserve and protect the international rules-based order, especially the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states. Therefore, we have many things in common.”

He said Germany will “try to only convince” that it is in India’s interest to uphold the international order.

The German minister also stressed the fact that as Germany begins to lessen its dependence on Russia for the import of oil and gas, it will also seek collaboration with New Delhi on energy security.

“We can substitute gas from one player to another without changing the infrastructure. Our government is also willing to invest in LNG terminals. Our government is willing to increase supplies coming out of LNG,” he added.

The minister said these discussions will also feature during PM Modi’s meeting with Chancellor Scholz Monday.

(Edited by Manoj Ramachandran)

Also read: Won’t be silent if rules-based order challenged, envoy Lindner says as German warship visits


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