The consequences of Russia's war against Ukraine, the climate crisis, too much dependence on China: Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock declared before she left Berlin that her talks in New Delhi would focus on "the most urgent tasks of our time - containing the climate crisis and upholding our rules-based international order". In the morning, the Green politician wanted to commemorate the Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi at the beginning of her first official visit to the world's most populous democracy.
It is customary to lay rose petals in a ceremony at the Gandhi Smriti memorial. This is where Gandhi was shot dead by a Hindu extremist in 1948. A meeting between Baerbock and the Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was then planned. The minister also wants to sign a mobility agreement in New Delhi "that will make it easier for our people to study, do research and work in the other country."
Baerbock in the Gandhi memorial
Right at the beginning of her visit, Baerbock commemorates the famous freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi - and in doing so also sets an example for human rights. The fact that India had managed "to free more than 400 million people - almost as many as people in the EU - from absolute poverty in the past 15 years is impressive," the minister said before departure. "It shows that social plurality, freedom and democracy are a motor for economic development, peace and stability." Working on this together with the strengthening of human rights, "that is also our task," emphasizes Baerbock.
India abstained from a vote in the UN Human Rights Council at the end of November because of the ongoing violence by the Iranian security apparatus against peacefully demonstrating people.
India as an ally - and as a huge market
Germany as well as the USA and other Western countries rely on India as a counterbalance to the increasingly aggressive China - and as a business partner with huge market potential. India will overtake China as the most populous country in the world as early as next year, says Baerbock. And adds: "There is no doubt that India will decisively influence the shaping of the international order in the 21st century - in the Indo-Pacific and beyond." India took over the presidency of the G20 group of leading industrialized and emerging countries on Thursday.
Russia and the consequences of the war against Ukraine
Nuclear power India does not support Western sanctions against Russia. It abstained from United Nations resolutions on the war in Ukraine.
Baerbock nonetheless acknowledged: "The fact that India is willing to contribute its weight globally was shown most recently at the G20 summit in Bali. The clearer positioning of the G20 against the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is ultimately also due to India," she emphasized. "As an emerging economic power and a well-established democracy, India - despite all the internal social challenges - is both a role model and a bridge builder for many countries in the world. And a natural partner for Germany."
India and Germany have been linked by a strategic partnership since 2000. Since 2011, the Indo-German government consultations have been held alternately in Germany and India every two years - most recently in Berlin at the beginning of May. The aim is to further intensify the diverse bilateral cooperation.
Baerbock announces that Germany stands by India's side if the country wants to push ahead with the energy transition with the expansion of renewable energies. When it comes to growth, India is increasingly relying on renewable energy in the electricity mix and is building large solar parks, among other things. But the country is also relying on more coal, on which it is currently primarily dependent. It is said that this is necessary to lift people out of poverty.