Foreign Policy Watch: India – Germany

 How India and Germany can work together to tackle climate change?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : India-Germany relations

Both nations, India and Germany with innovative economies and many highly-trained people can tackle the climate challenge.

India-Germany Relations: A backgrounder

Freedom struggle: Subhas Chandra Bose, a prominent freedom fighter for Indian independence, made a determined effort to obtain India’s independence from Britain by seeking military assistance from the Axis powers. The Indische Legion was formed to serve as a liberation force for British-ruled India principally made up of Indian prisoners of war.

Diplomacy: India maintained diplomatic relations with both West Germany and East Germany and supported their reunification in 1990. Contrary to France and the UK, Germany has no strategic footprint in Asia.

Past contentions: Germany condemned India for liberating Goa from Portuguese rule in 1961 and supported Portugal’s dictatorial regime under Salazar against India. It was critical of India for intervening in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.  It rejected India’s 1998 nuclear tests.

Quest for UNSC: India and Germany both seek to become permanent members of the UNSC and have joined with Japan and Brazil to coordinate their efforts via the G4 collective.

Cultural ties: Germany has supported education and cultural programs in India. Germany helped establish the IIT Madras after both governments signed an agreement in 1956 and increased its cooperation and supply of technology and resources over the decades to help expand the institution

Trade and investment: Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe. Germany is the 8th largest foreign direct investor (FDI) in India.

Common concerns

  • In South Asia and Europe, we have become used to extremely hot weather, flooding, dramatic depletion of groundwater tables, and drought.
  • The EU has adopted an ambitious Green Deal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to decouple economic growth from the consumption of natural resources.

Why the two?

  • India is one of few countries that looks set to deliver on the national goals it set itself as part of the Paris agreement.
  • Compared to other G20 countries, its per capita emissions are very low.
  • Germany recently adopted laws on reducing greenhouse gases more quickly, achieving climate neutrality by 2045 and stopping the use of coal for electricity production by 2038.

Collaborated efforts to date

  • In 2015, India’s PM and Germany’s Federal Chancellor agreed to further strengthen the two countries’ strategic partnership.
  • On this basis, Germany and India have succeeded in building up a cooperation portfolio worth almost 12 billion euros.
  • Already, nine out of 10 measures support climate goals and SDGs together.

Indo-German development cooperation focuses on three areas:

  1. Transition to renewable energies
  2. Sustainable urban development and
  3. Sustainable management of natural resources

What does Germany have to offer?

  • As a pioneer of the energy transition, Germany is offering knowledge, technology transfer, and financial solutions.
  • The pandemic has shown global supply chains are vulnerable.
  • Yet, when it comes to agriculture and natural resources, there are smart solutions that are being tested in India and Germany for more self-reliance, including agroecological approaches and sustainable management of forests, soils, and water.
  • Experience in India has shown that these methods also boost incomes for the local population and make them less dependent on expensive fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.

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