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EAM’s Remarks at the Press Interaction with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin

February 19, 2020

Members of the Press, Minister, my dear colleague Heiko.

I’m very happy to be here, we have had a very good discussion this afternoon. I think if my memory serves me right, this is the fifth time in the last six months we are meeting, in New York, in Paris, in India in Munich and now out here. I was earlier in the week at the Munich Security Conference, I must tell you it was the first time an Indian foreign minister participated. And I can tell we’ll surely come back, it was a very good event. But today we had an opportunity really to sit down and review our bilateral relations, regional issues, global issues. And apart from the meeting today, yesterday I also had a meeting with the Minister of Defence, Minster Kramp-Karrenbauer and with the minister of the Economy and Energy Minister Altmaier and a lot of these discussions are about taking forward our strategic partnership and building on the discussions which our Prime Minister and Chancellor Merkel had at the fifth India-Germany intergovernmental consultations in India last year.

Now as the Minister explained to you we have a very broad based relationships, we have more than thirty mechanisms between our two countries and these are mechanisms not only between governments but also there are aspects of it which impact students, professionals, economy, business, people to people, civil society. And, we certainly value these relationships and look forward to building on them. Where the foreign policy is concerned, what I do want to emphasize today is that as liberal democracies our common values to help us in achieving the convergences, in terms of how we evaluate global challenges and opportunities and we certainly do discuss shared concerns like terrorism, extremism, I think on many of these we have common evaluations and clearly a stronger working relationship.

Today most of our discussions focused on bilateral and global issues, some of them again as my colleague told you included multilateralism, connectivity, climate change, technology issues, counter terrorism issues and we also spent a little time discussing India and the EU, a relationship in which we greatly value the role and influence of Germany. We had a discussion on what we call the Indo-Pacific, where I shared our perspectives on Afghanistan, on the Middle East and the Gulf. And we discussed our working together in the Alliance for Multilateralism. I conveyed our strong support to the Minister. And I want to underline that in India we are very proud of our traditions and confident of our future, and we do believe that that future is an internationalist future. We appreciate this initiative, the Alliance for Multilateralism, because today multilateralism is under threat, under stress I would say, from both nationalism and mercantilism, and we believe in the centrality of the United Nations, in the relevance of the WTO to international trade, and we believe multilateralism should be recognized, it should be preserved, it should be protected. Now, as liberal democracies we also share with Germany our belief that adherence to international law is critical. If regimes and institutions are to be credible, they must also be contemporary and we therefore also discussed the how to expedite the reforms of the United Nations including the UN Security Council.

It is a subject on which India and Germany have worked together for some years. I was very gratified to hear from the minister the support for two initiatives that India has taken, multilateral initiatives, the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition For Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. I will certainly welcome greater German interest and participation and once again I would like to thank you for being such a wonderful host today, for a great lunch and most of all for a close working relationship which I value very much.

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