The inclusion of the word ‘Indo’ has finally found its way into the German nomenclature and is a major shift from the traditional German perception of China being the most dominant force in the region. The policy guidelines recently introduced by the German Foreign ministry, comes at a time when Germany has assumed the presidency of the European Union and aims to diversify its engagement with countries along the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Last week, the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued a 40-page policy guideline document for the Indo-Pacific region called ‘Germany-Europe-Asia: Shaping the 21st Century Together’.
While the US, France, and Japan have long been using the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ as a geographical and strategic construct in foreign and security policy discourse, the European economic powerhouse has finally included India in its policy framework – a welcome and wise move.
At a time when the big economies of the world are coping with plummeting GDPs, this document brings good news for India. With a GDP of USD 3.9 trillion, Germany stands tall as the world’s fourth largest economy, and the scope of its growth has a better prognosis than most developed countries. To sustain this growth, Germany also requires diversifying its interests, specifically in Asia.
Germany’s new Indo-Pacific strategy seeks to broaden its participation in “Asia’s growth dynamics and in being involved in shaping the Indo-Pacific region, as well as in upholding global norms in regional structures” – while being a proponent of a “rules-based international order”.
With France and the UK strengthening economic, strategic, and historical connections with India, Germany now completes the third and the most valuable addition to the triangle of European engagement with India. The presence of German companies such as Siemens, ThyssenKrupp, Bosch, etc, for more than a century, has significantly contributed to major technological advancements at the grassroots-level. However, surprisingly, while France enjoys a sturdy reputation of being India’s ‘friend in need’, it is actually Germany that wins hands down when it comes to trade and economic investments – official figures speak for themselves.
In 2019, the India-France bilateral trade stood at 11.59 bn Euros, while the Indo-German trade – alone between January and November 2019 – stood at 19.35 bn Euros.
Read the article via The Quint, here