NITI – BMZ Dialogue on Development Cooperation

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    • Recently, NITI Aayog and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) held the inaugural NITI-BMZ Dialogue of Development Cooperation through video conferencing.

    Major highlights of the Dialogue 

    • Green and Sustainable Development (GSDP)
      • India and Germany signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on Partnership for Green and Sustainable Development (GSDP).
        • India and the G7 had agreed to work towards a Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP).
    • Climate Change Goal
      • The dialogue laid down a pathway to strengthen mutual cooperation between the two countries, particularly to reconcile the imperatives of dealing with climate change with the goals of Agenda 2030.
    • Five core areas of cooperation:
      • Sustainable Development Goals
      • Climate action
      • Energy transition
      • Emerging technologies
      • Agro-ecology
    • Lighthouse Cooperation on Agroecology and Natural Resources
      • Both sides highlighted the need to deepen engagement on the Lighthouse Cooperation on Agroecology and Natural Resources and to collaborate on 
        • Scaling up natural farming in India
        • Strengthening research in different agro-climatic regions for natural farming practices
        • Working towards standards and certification of natural farming products for facilitating export
        • Evaluating impact of natural farming for mitigating climate change and adapting to climate risks.
    • Natural farming
      • Both sides highlighted the need to deepen engagement scaling up natural farming in India.
    • Funding
      • In support of a green and sustainable development partnership, Germany announced an additional funding of EUR 3.5 million, specifically for strengthening of implementation of SDGs and climate action at the level of Indian states. 

    Significance of the Dialogue 

    • LiFE initiative: It drew attention to the Prime Minister’s focus on individual responsibility for sustainable behaviour, embodied in his Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) initiative. 
    • It is a serious attempt to achieve the Paris Climate Goals, the SDGs and in particular a just energy transition in India.

    India-Germany Bilateral Relations 

    • Bilateral relations:
      • Germany is one of India’s most important partners in Europe owing to the strength of bilateral relations, as also Germany’s key role in the EU.
      • India was among the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War. 
      • In 2021, India and Germany marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. 
    • Strategic Partnership: 
      • India and Germany have had a ‘Strategic Partnership’ since 2000, which has been further strengthened with the launch of Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) in 2011 at the level of Heads of Government.
        • It allows for a comprehensive review of cooperation and identification of fresh areas of engagement. India is among a select group of countries with which Germany has such a dialogue mechanism. 
      • India and Germany have a shared interest in upholding democratic values, a rules-based international order, and reform of multilateral institutions. These issues are expected to figure in the discussions, especially in the context of China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Institutional Cooperation Arrangements: 
      • Several institutionalised arrangements exist between India and Germany to  discuss bilateral and global issues of interest, namely, Foreign Office  Consultations, High Defence Committee, Indo-German Energy Forum, IndoGerman Environment Forum, S&T Committee, and Joint Working Groups in  various fields, including skill development, automotive, agriculture, tourism,  water and waste management.
      • Both countries consult each other and coordinate positions in multilateral  fora including G-20 and in the UN on global issues such as climate change and  sustainable development. 
        • There have been consultations between the two countries on various subjects such as UN issues, international cyber issues, disarmament and non-proliferation, export control, Asia and Africa.
    • Multilateral Cooperation:
      • Germany and India support each other on UNSC expansion within the framework of the G-4. 
      •  Germany joined the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) in February 2020 and participated in the first Governing Council meeting in March 2020.
      • In 2021, the German Federal Cabinet approved the signing of the amended framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and thereby Germany’s accession to the ISA. 
    • Security Cooperation: 
      • The MoU on Security Cooperation signed at the 3rd IGC held in Delhi in 2015 defines collaboration in this field. 
    • Defence Cooperation: 
      • Bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement signed in 2006 and the Agreement on Mutual Protection of Classified Information signed in 2007, provides the framework for bilateral defence ties. 
    • Economic & Commercial Relations: 
      • Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe. 
      • It has consistently been among India’s top ten global partners and was the seventh-largest trading partner in FY 2020-21 (12th during FY 2021-22 up to December 2021). 
      • Bilateral trade in 2020-21 was USD 21.76 billion registering a marginal decline of about 1% over FY 2019-20. 
      • Indian exports during this period decreased by 2% reaching USD 8.12 billion and Indian imports decreased by 0.35% to USD 13.64 billion.
      • Indian exports with USD 7.02 billion during this period witnessed an increase of  about 24.65% and Indian imports with USD 10.58 billion registered an increase  of 5.96%
    • Science & Technology: 
      • Bilateral Science and Technology cooperation is implemented under an Inter-Governmental Agreement on ‘Cooperation in Scientific Research and Technological Development’ signed in May 1974.
      • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) are the nodal agencies for overall coordination. An apex Indo-German Committee on S&T, established in 1994 coordinates the implementation of cooperation and joint review of activities. 
    • Culture: 
      • The Indo-German cultural relations have a long tradition that was derived through the systematic and academic study of Indian literature, especially Vedas and Upanishads, and also translation of famous works from Sanskrit to German language. 
      • Most importantly, the translation of Kalidasa’s ‘Shakuntala’ in 1791 envisaged institution-based scientific research on sacred Indian texts for the quest of Indian philosophy and literature. 
      • Max Mueller was the first scholar of Indo-European languages to translate and publish Upanishads and Rigveda. 
    • Indian Diaspora: 
      • There are around 2.03 lakh (2021) Indian passport holders and Indian-origin people (about 1.60 lakh NRIs/Indian Passport holders and around 43,000 PIOs) in Germany. 

    Source: PIB