Berlin, May 30 (IANS) Germany on Tuesday reaffirmed its support for India’s membership in international export control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group, following the fourth biannual Inter-Governmental Consultations jointly headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel here.
“Both leaders expressed their commitment to strengthen global non-proliferation efforts,” a joint statement issued following the talks said.
“Germany welcomed India’s accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime,” it said.
“Germany also welcomed India’s intensified engagement with the other export control regimes — the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement — and expressed its support for India’s early accession to these regimes.”
At the NSG plenary in Seoul in June last year, China had blocked India’s membership bid on the ground that for a country to a part of the 48-nation bloc, it has to be a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Beijing has again indicated this year that it has not changed its stand.
According to the statement, Modi and Merkel also reaffirmed the urgent need for comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council, “including its expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership, to make it more effective, efficient and responsive to the existing challenges to international peace and security and representative of the contemporary geo-political realities”.
“Both countries reiterated their full support to each other’s candidatures for a permanent seat in a reformed and expanded UN Security Council,” it said.
“Both sides underlined the importance of freedom of navigation in international waters, the right of passage and other maritime rights and obligations in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and other principles of international law,” it said and added that both leaders attached particular importance to security, stability, connectivity and sustainable development of the blue economy in the Indian Ocean region.
The two leaders also underlined their common concern about the threat and global reach of terrorism and extremism.
“They condemned terrorist violence in all its forms and manifestations,” the statement said. “They agreed on the need to take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary and safe havens that sustain and support terrorist groups and organisations.”
Modi and Merkel reiterated their commitment to the ambitious implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals both domestically and through international cooperation, as well as the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change with a timely transformation to low-carbon inclusive sustainable economies, according to the statement.
“Both leaders stressed the important role of the G20 in fostering strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, private investments, free and rules-based trade and financial markets regulation,” it said.
Holding the group’s Presidency this year, Germany will host the G20 Summit in Hamburg with the theme “Shaping an Interconnected World”, and Modi “welcomed the Presidency’s focus on building resilience, improving sustainability and assuming responsibility, as well as on enhancing the benefits of globalization and sharing them more widely at national and international levels”.
Both leaders also underlined their determination to ease bilateral trade and investment and pointed to the potential of open markets and the importance of investment protection for foreign investors for deepening trade relations and for attracting investments to the mutual benefit of both countries.
The India-Germany Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty (BIT) had expired in March this year and the Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between India and the European Union (EU) has been hanging fire for 11 years now despite 16 rounds of negotiations.
According to the joint statement, both leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to the BTIA and their commitment to bring about a resumption of the negotiations at the earliest possible date.
“Recognising Germany’s key competencies in high technology and India’s growing needs, both the leaders welcomed the efforts of the High Technology Partnership Group (HTPG) to identify specific opportunities for high technology collaboration, including in priority areas of skills development, in manufacturing under the Make in India programme and to enhance cooperation in defence manufacturing and machine tools as well as enhancing cooperation in maritime technology and the development of blue economy,” it stated.
After both countries identified last year sustainable urban development as a new priority area of bilateral cooperation, Germany intends to provide financial technical assistance in the range of 1 billion euros.
The statement also said that Modi and Merkel welcomed the Indo-German partnerships in higher education to facilitate collaborative research and academic and institutional exchanges between 10 universities and institutions of higher Education of each country.