New Delhi (dpa) – Defense Minister Boris Pistorius wants to treat India as a strategic partner like Australia and Japan and thus make arms cooperation much easier. “India is an important, if not the most important, strategic partner for Europe and also for Germany. And that is why we have to treat it as such,” said the SPD politician in New Delhi after speaking with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.
“It would be great if we could find a way to treat India the same way Japan and Australia are treated,” he said. There will also be joint exercises with the German Navy in the coming year.
For Japan and Australia, simplified rules apply to arms deals, as they do not belong to a group of so-called third countries, but are equal partners in NATO. You can buy from a German arms company without a complicated approval process, but the federal government can still refuse.
Pistorius: India is a “strategically reliable partner”
Pistorius did not formulate his proposal specifically, but treating India differently was a “relatively logical next step”. This discussion should take place. If Germany takes its strategic partnership seriously, “it also requires reliable cooperation in the field of arms and military cooperation with strategically reliable partners – and that includes India,” said Pistorius. He made it clear that negotiations for a multi-billion dollar arms deal involving the delivery of six German-built TKMS submarines to India were ongoing. He said: “It could be a flagship project.” At least one other bidder is still in progress. India currently has one nuclear submarine and 16 conventional submarines.
Pistorius said he also spoke with colleagues about Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which has repercussions for India and every corner of the world. “And India is trying very continuously to significantly and quickly reduce its dependence on Russia for armaments, which is currently still 60 percent,” said Pistorius. Germany’s important trading partner is very important.
The US is also focused on India
The US has upgraded India to become a major partner. It belongs to the security- and military-politically oriented quadrilateral alliance (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) with the US, Australia and Japan – all democratic nations that, according to their own statements, are committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific. What is implied is about the escalation of China’s struggle for power. The four-member group was formed after the 2004 tsunami triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in New Delhi on Sunday and Monday.
The most populous country, India, has one of the largest armies in the world with around 1.4 billion people. India is militarily important, partly because of very strained relations with neighboring China and Pakistan, with which India has been at war. All three countries have nuclear capacity.
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