India will work with Germany on a “convergent vision” of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region as part of enhanced strategic engagement between the two countries, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said on Thursday.
Addressing an event to mark the release of a postage stamp on the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Shringla described Germany as one of India’s “most important friends in the European Union”.
“Last year, Germany became the second European country to issue guidelines for the Indo-Pacific, which we welcome. We look forward to working with Germany on our convergent vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
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The post-pandemic global order will require concerted efforts by like-minded countries to ensure that multilateralism and a rules-based international order are respected by all, he said. “India and Germany must therefore continue to enhance the level and quality of their strategic engagement. We both have unique strengths that we can synergise to be a force for good in the world,” he added.
Shringla also said the recommencement of negotiations on an India-EU trade and investment agreement augurs well for the future of economic ties with Germany.
Regular institutional engagements at higher political levels have lent momentum to India-Germany ties, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chancellor Angela Merkel have met 12 times in the past seven years, Shringla noted. The two countries also consult closely at multilateral and international organisations, and engage on issues such as counter-terrorism, cyber-security and climate change, he said.
The virtual event was also joined by German ambassador Walter Lindner and Vineet Pandey, secretary in the department of posts.
India established diplomatic ties with the then Federal Republic of Germany on March 7, 1951, becoming one of the first countries to do so. In recent times, the two sides have extensively cooperated in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in scientific research and supply of health-related products and equipment.
In the early days of the pandemic, India supplied hydroxychoroquine and other pharmaceutical products to Germany. Amid the second wave of the pandemic in India, Germany extended much needed support by supplying oxygen-related equipment, essential drugs and raw materials. Shringla thanked the government and people of Germany for this “timely and helpful gesture”.
Both India’s department of posts, and Germany’s postage stamp division issued commemorative stamps. The Indian stamp was designed by Gulistan and the German stamp by Matthias Wittig.