Germany and India - Strategic Partners

Bilateral relations between Germany and India are based on a sound foundation of mutual respect, understanding and support. The cooperation between both countries covers a wide range of areas from political action and growing economic exchange to landmark cultural events. It is complementary in that India and Germany both contribute their particular and unique strengths to this truly strategic partnership.

A series of outstanding Indo-German events over the last years elucidates the growing intensity of the Indo-German ties:

After the celebrations of the 60 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations with India in 2011, a Year of Germany in India was organised under the motto ‘Infinite Opportunities – Germany and India 2011-2012’. With the theme ‘StadtRäume – CitySpaces’, the festival traveled through five of India’s largest metropolises—New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune.

April 2013 saw the 2nd round of Indo-German Intergovernmental Consultations for which then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several of his cabinet ministers travelled to Berlin. In September 2013 the German Embassy organized the historic and worldwide televised ‘Kashmir Concert’ with Maestro Zubin Mehta and the Bavarian State Orchestra at Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar. And in February 2014, German Federal President Joachim Gauck chose India for his first State Visit in Asia.

History of longstanding relations
India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (L) meeting German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in Germany on 10 October, 1960 Enlarge image India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (L) meeting German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in Germany on 10 October, 1960 (© bpa)

The history of Indo-German political relations goes back to the late nineteenth century, when the ‘Imperial German Consulate’ (Kaiserlich Deutsches Generalkonsulat) began functioning from Calcutta (now Kolkata).

However, it was only after WWII that diplomatic relations between the two countries gained prominence. India was the first country to end the state of war with Germany in 1951, and therefore was among the first countries to grant the Federal Republic of Germany diplomatic recognition.

Germany established its Consulate General in Bombay in 1951, leading to the establishment of a full-fledged Embassy in New Delhi in 1952. In the same year, Germany’s first ambassador arrived in Delhi and India’s first ambassador took charge in Bonn.

Partners on a global stage

Today, India and Germany are important partners on the international stage. Both countries have joint forces to tackle the challenges of a globalised world, such as the impact of climate change, international terrorism, establishment of a stable and sustainable global economic order, and reform of the United Nations' Security Council.

A strategic partnership

Our political relations have grown significantly in recent years. In May 2000, at the dawn of the new millennium, both countries adopted the ‘Agenda for the Indo-German Partnership in the 21st Century’. The Agenda agreed for our heads of government to meet regularly, and foreign ministers to endeavour to meet every year. These interactions usually take place along with high-profile delegations from both sides.

On 23 April, 2006 a ‘Joint Declaration’ emphasising our strategic partnership was signed by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It turned the focus of our future cooperation onto the fields of energy, science and technology, and defence. A similar Declaration, signed during Chancellor Merkel’s visit to India on 31 October, 2007, noted the substantial progress made in Indo-German relations and set ambitious goals for their development in the future.

In 2010, then German President Köhler came to Delhi, Pune and Mumbai on a five day State Visit. Current President Joachim Gauck paid another State Visit in February 2014. He had political talks with the President and the Vice-President of India, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition in Delhi. He also met civil society actors, and in Karnataka he visited a development project in a village.

Indo-German intergovernmental consultations: a unique format

German Chancellor Merkel and her accompanying delegation held wide-ranging talks with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his cabinet colleagues. Enlarge image German Chancellor Merkel and her accompanying delegation held wide-ranging talks with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his cabinet colleagues. (© bpa, Steffen Kugler) At the invitation of the Indian government, the India and Germany held their first intergovernmental consultations in New Delhi on 31 May, 2011. These consultations set a new standard in the implementation of our strategic partnership, as India is one amongst only three non-European countries with which Germany has had this nature of comprehensive consultations. India returned the visit on April 11th/12th, 2013, when then Prime Minister Singh and five members of his cabinett travelled to Germany to hold the second round of intergovernmental consultations with their counterparts in Berlin. The next round of these consultations is foreseen for 2015, again in India. Fields for intensified future cooperation are already being identified by both sides. Germany wants to support the new Indian government in its economic development agenda and in its quest for technological progress, clean energy and large-scale skills development.