Germany wants to intensify its relationship with India to counter Chinese influence and reduce its supply dependency. This was confirmed by German Economy Minister Robert Habeck before his visit to New Delhi.
Mr Habeck and Hubertus Heil, fellow Labor Ministers, are currently in India ahead of the important G20 Labor and Energy Ministers meeting hosted by the country.
“In the future, China and the United States will remain the main pillars of trade policy. This is why it is so important for Germany and Europe to find partners.”said Mr. Habeck ntv.
“India is a counterbalance to China and an important player in the Indo-Pacific region”he added.
In the past, German companies were too focused on China, said Habeck.
However, while acknowledging that turning things around would take time, he said it was important to take steps to diversify new business investments, particularly in IT services, pharmaceuticals and industrial goods, key areas of cooperation with India.
Germany has become increasingly aware of asymmetric dependencies since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlighted the country’s unfavorable dependence on Russian fossil fuels. India has been an important target of the German government’s efforts to diversify trade ties and expand geopolitical partnerships.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited India last February, while Defense Minister Boris Pistorius did the same in June, signing a deal to sell German submarines.
Germany is also turning to other BRICS countries, such as Brazil and South Africa.
Outside of trade, Germany is seeking to replenish its workforce through hiring foreign workers, as the country is plagued by a skilled labor shortage. During his trip, Mr Heil will sign an agreement to expand the nursing placement program of Kerala, Indian state, with a German employer.
However, conflicting values loom over the horizon of trade relations, as new partners do not always agree with the West on matters such as the war in Russia, democracy or ecological transition.
“There are values [en Inde] which is not in accordance with ours”acknowledged Mr Habeck, who criticized India’s imports of Russian oil and warned that Europe would only collaborate on sustainable products.
There isn’t any “no world can be imagined in which one could live according to a single doctrine”he determined.
Efforts to strengthen ties with India have not been well received by neighboring France. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the country, as guest of honor on National Day, has been widely criticized.
Several NGOs and opposition party politicians have raised concerns about human rights abuses, attacks on journalists and the media, rising authoritarianism, arrests of government critics, repression of Muslim minorities, and restrictions on freedom of assembly.
According to the French League for Human Rights (LDH), this visit “once again sending a disastrous signal in terms of the negation of our democratic values”.
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