German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who arrived in New Delhi Saturday on a two-day visit to India, said the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a major catastrophe, adding that the there must be a ‘clear stand’ on the crisis in the United Nations (UN).
“It is important that in the United Nations, we time and again, state very clearly where we stand on this subject matter. The world is suffering as a consequence of Russia’s aggression,” said Scholz, who is on his first to the country after he became the German chancellor in December 2021, following Angela Merkel’s historic 16-year tenure at the top post. On Friday, India abstained from on a UN resolution criticising Russia for its military operation in Ukraine.
Referring to the impact on the supply of food and energy, the German chancellor said, “We have to make sure that the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are not too strongly and negatively impacted by the terrible war of aggression that Russia started against Ukraine and that the impact is not too negative for them.”
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Scholz was accompanied with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a press meet. The Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have had a negative impact on the developing countries, Modi said. “We agreed that the solution to this can be achieved only by joint efforts. From the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, India has been emphasising on dialogue and diplomacy. India is ready to contribute to any peace process,” the PM said.
On India’s G20 presidency
Underlining that the war in Ukraine began a year ago, Scholz said that the invasion had caused immense losses and destroyed infrastructure, rail links and grids. The war violated a fundamental principle that “you do not change borders through the use of violence”.
Scholz said: “India has the presidency of G20 this year, a very responsible task at a difficult point in time. But I’m confident that Indians will fully comply with what needs to be done in that regard.” Referring to India’s G20 presidency, he said he was confident that “Indians will fully comply with what needs to be done in that regard”.
Holds talks with PM Modi
Hours after Scholz arrived in Delhi, he held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that were focused on boosting the bilateral ties in the areas of clean energy, trade and new technologies.
In a press meet, Modi said that India and Germany have strong ties based on shared democratic values. “The increasing cooperation between the two largest democratic economies of the world is not only beneficial for the people of both the countries, it also sends a positive message in today’s stress-ridden world,” Modi said.
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The two countries agree that strong action was needed to fight cross-border terrorism and they would cooperate on combating terrorism and separatism, said Modi. “Security and defence cooperation can become an important pillar for the strategic partnership of the two countries,” the PM said.
India and Germany share a strong economic partnership. Germany is India’s largest trade partner in the European Union (EU) and has consistently been among India’s top 10 global trade partners. It is also one of the largest foreign direct investors in India. Pointing out that there were over 1,800 German companies in India, Scholz said that Germany needed skilled and talented workers. Incidentally, the two countries signed a mobility and migration pact last year.
India and Germany have also had talks on a range of key areas in the last few years. The first meeting between the two leaders took place during Modi’s visit to Berlin on May 2 last year for the sixth India-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC). They also met when Modi visited the Alpine castle of Schloss Elmau in southern Germany on June 26 and 27 (2021) to attend the annual summit of the G7 grouping. The third time they had a meeting was on the sidelines of the G20 Summit held in Bali in November 2022. Scholz has invited Modi for the G7 summit under the German presidency.