Indo-German relationship #54

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'Green Energy  is the primary pillar of Indo-German cooperation'. Discuss it in the light of India's larger aim in achieving sustainable development.

Brief history

  • Bilateral relations between India and Germany are founded on common democratic principles and are marked by a high degree of trust and mutual respect.
  • India was amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War.
  • In the early years and in line with the government policy of that time, our joint projects targeted industrial growth, poverty reduction and rural development.
  • To mention one example, in the 1960s German development cooperation supported the agricultural revolution in the Nilgiris by helping small farmers in over 16,000 holdings to get loans and determine favourable cultivation practices for potatoes.
  • Relations grew significantly following the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany.
  • In the last decade, both economic and political interaction between India and Germany has increased significantly.
  • Today, Germany is amongst India’s most important partners both bilaterally and in the global context.
  • India and Germany have a ‘Strategic Partnership’ since 2001, which has been further strengthened with the Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC) at the level of Head of Governments which allows for a comprehensive review of cooperation and identification of fresh areas of engagement.
  • India is amongst a select group of countries with which Germany has such a dialogue mechanism.
  • The 4th IGC was held in Berlin on May 30, 2017 wherein 12 cooperation documents in various sectors were signed.
  • This year, we proudly celebrate the 60th anniversary of this fruitful aspect of our strategic relationship.

Present day relations:

  • Today, India and Germany are in a balanced partnership.
  • Our bilateral relations contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end poverty and create a more inclusive and equitable world.
  • With increasing environmental degradation, heavy thunderstorms, severe floods and droughts leading to famines across the globe, we see the adverse effects of global warming and accept the responsibility to actively protect our habitat and cooperate closely on this matter internationally.
  • Now, the areas of focus are renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable urban development, environment protection and resource management.
  • This is complemented by supporting sustainable economic development, including vocational education and training (VET).
  • The know-how and expertise that Germany shares with India is the main value-add of this cooperation, guided by India’s reform programmes and priorities.
  • Three crucial projects help to illustrate the gist of our cooperation today.

Point of convergence:

Cooperation in Clean Ganga initiative:

  • The Ganga region is home to more than 600 million people — half of India’s population.
  • The Ganga, just as Germany’s largest river, the Rhine, had faced abuse for decades, with untreated industrial and domestic waste flowing into them, causing major pollution and the extinction of marine life.
  • Mythology and sentiment is attached to them. Germany is honoured to share its experience with India to bring back “Mother Ganga”to acceptable standards, as it has successfully done for “Father Rhine”.
  • For instance, Germany pledges a loan of Rs 970 crore to strengthen sewage water treatment infrastructure in Uttarakhand.


Energy matters:

  • The Indian government goes to considerable lengths to provide every household with electricity.
  • Adding more renewable energy sources to the country’s energy mix also remains a priority; the ambitious renewable energy target of installing 175 gigawatt by 2022 has been set, of which 100 Gigawatt should be solar energy.
  • In 2006, the Indo-German Energy Forumwas set up to promote cooperation in this field. We have already achieved a great deal jointly: In 2013, the Maharashtra Power Generation Cooperation Limited, supported by German funds, set up a 125 Megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in Sakri.
  • Further, our strategic Green Energy Corridorsproject will build transmission lines transferring clean energy to different parts of the country.
  • German development cooperation has given loans worth Rs 9,300 crore for this project, ensuring the supply of clean electricity to millions of Indians while reducing network losses and improving the carbon footprint.

Green mobility:

  • Germany pledged up to Rs 8,900 croreover five years to improve solid and liquid waste management and provide climate-friendly urban transport like the Metro in Nagpur, which is the single biggest project of German financial cooperation in India. Moreover, Germany has partnered with three smart cities — Bhubaneswar, Kochi and Coimbatore — to provide sustainable urban public transport.
  • In Kochi, Rs 690 crore have been committed to finance an integrated, cleaner and more efficient water transport system.


  • These projects stand for around 190 already successful or promising cooperation projects of India and Germany today.
  • We are proud to work as equal partners to tackle global development challenges.
  • We are aware that whatever we do on this earth has a global environmental impact.
  • Germany is keen to continue to create innovative solutions with India for the future, for the benefit of both of our societies and the world at large.

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Hemant Bhatt

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