India-Germany push UNSC seat, counter-terror pact

RSTV Bureau

Sushma_EAmIn a move to deepen bilateral ties, India and Germany on Wednesday jointly agreed to cooperate on counter-terrorism measures and for pushing each other’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nation Security Council. The understanding was reached in the talks between Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeir in Berlin. Ms Swaraj is currently on a two-day visit to Germany.

“The External Affairs Minister and German Foreign Minister reviewed the issues that were discussed when the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) had come here in April and what all have been implemented already. They took stock of that and also looked what more needs to be done,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the press.

Both the sides squarely agreed that the issue of terrorism is a major challenge for both India and Germany and the idea was to step up security cooperation on a whole range of issues. The two leaders also discussed the plan of action for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s slated visit to India in October this year.

“The meeting was very warm and very positive… which will further strengthen the India-Germany strategic partnership. And lead to a very fruitful and substantive outcome during Chancellor Merkel’s visit which is eagerly anticipated in India,” Vikas Swarup added.

Another vital issue taken up by the two key ministers was the need for the reforms in UN Security Council, as both India and Germany are seeking a permanent seat.

“The UN Security council reform came up for discussion in a big way. Now the discussions have moved to the inter-governmental negotiations and India and Germany have both hoped that there will be a strong momentum to having text-based negotiations which can lead to some kind of positive outcome in the 70th anniversary year of the UN,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the press in Berlin.

India and Germany also reviewed various proposals including a USD 1 billion German commitment for an ambitious solar venture in India. Terming the one billion project as “very ambitious”, the MEA spokesperson said the rooftop solar project will help in high speed railway corridors, raising speed of existing trains, Ganga rejuvenation initiative, smart cities project and skill development schemes.

The two leaders also agreed to arrive at a resolution of the sticky German language issue and an announcement about it is likely during Merkel’s visit to India.

The meeting also focussed on improving further the trade ties. Sources said the Indian side has made three proposals for Germany’s participation in the railways sector, especially for the ambitious high speed corridors.

Swaraj, who arrived in Berlin on a two-day visit last evening, earlier met President of German Lower House Nobert Lammert and Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Lower House Nobert Roetgen.

German Chancellor Merkel is scheduled to visit India in the first half of October for Inter-Governmental Consultations where she will be a holding a summit level meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

(With inputs from the PTI)