Joint Statement following IGC


Modi-Merkel lead Indo-German meeting.

German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have reiterated that the Indo-German Strategic Partnership is based on the common values and principles of democracy, free and fair trade, and rules-based international order, as well as on mutual trust and respect.

Key issues in the discussions, held during Merkel visit 31 Oct to 1 Nov, included jointly driving the digital transformation through innovation and frontier technologies, especially artificial intelligence, making economic growth sustainable by cooperating on climate change, creating space for people to people contacts through legal mobility for skilled labour, and contributing to a reliable international order by strengthening and updating multilateral institutions.

I. Strengthening Cooperation in the Field of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation

Recognising that AI will fundamentally impact the way the world lives and works in the coming years both sides intend to work together to foster, encourage and develop cooperation on AI technologies and thereby promote innovation and sustainable development.

Both sides reaffirmed the importance of building Digital Partnership to intensify regular interaction and coordination towards collaboration on the next generation technologies. India and Germany aspire to build a collaborative partnership by leveraging advantages on each side recognising increasing integration of hardware and software in developing IoT and AI solutions for societal benefits.

Both sides have drawn out their country strategies on AI and recognise its potential on research and innovation as well as on society in general. The potential synergies in focus areas such as Health, Mobility, Environment and Agriculture offer immense opportunities for enhancing cooperation and building on our comparative advantages. Germany and India intend to engage in further cooperation especially by fostering multidisciplinary research and development in AI by sharing expertise and best practices.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Department of Science and Technology, through the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre, agreed to organize a bilateral workshop in Berlin in 2020 in order to identify areas of mutual interest.

Recognizing that international cooperation has long been a key feature of cutting-edge research projects, Germany and India agreed on working together closely to conduct joint bilateral and/or multilateral research and development activities on the development and use of AI. This also includes cooperation between German and Indian companies which are part of the same global value chains. Both sides stressed the unique opportunity to enhance Indo-German collaboration in the area of AI for health. They welcomed the first stakeholder meeting in Berlin in September 2019 and agreed on facilitating another such meeting in India.

Both leaders welcomed AI collaborations in Agriculture such as precision farming with the aim to increase efficiency and to save resources as well as reduction of food losses and waste. Additionally, both Ministries of Agriculture aim to establish open training data sets for AI applications that also address legal issues. Both sides welcomed the Round Table with NITI Aayog and German companies of 30 September 2019 exploring opportunities for the application and upscaling of digital technologies and AI in agriculture in India, ensuring the participation of the private sector. Germany and India agree to share research on the complexities arising out of adoption of AI in the workplace and its impact on the economy and society through a joint workshop.

Germany and India want to foster business cooperation in the digital sector. Therefore, German and Indian digital companies will jointly work towards further enhancing the scope of market opportunity and bilateral investments in each other’s countries and creating greater bonds between their thriving tech ecosystems.

Germany and India recalled the Joint Declaration in the Field of Digitalization – Empowerment and Economic Impact – signed on the 30 May 2017 in Berlin and agreed on broadening this Digital Dialogue. Both Sides welcomed the initiative of Indian and German business to set up a “Digital Experts Group” comprising of representatives of Research Institutions and private enterprises to identify areas for mutual cooperation and to give recommendations for future policy initiatives to be jointly considered by both sides.

Both sides agreed to create linkages between the German Platform Industrie 4.0 and the upcoming CII Smart Manufacturing Platform for cooperation and exchange of information including in standardization, IT-security in networked systems, testbeds and use cases, business models and B2B-platforms, and on topics shaping future digital ecosystems for Industry 4.0.

Germany and India underline the importance of a rapid convergence of start-up ecosystems in both countries, welcoming initiatives that allow entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and share projects. Both leaders recognized the importance of fostering collaboration between Start-ups. In this regard, they welcomed the proposal to conduct Boot Camps for Start-ups which will help create an ecosystem for promoting innovation and fostering entrepreneurship in the digital area.

11. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of building an international forum to ensure the responsible and human centric development and use of artificial intelligence in accordance with international law. As such, Germany and India welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI).

Germany and India agreed on consulting each other on identifying best possible approaches on cyber security and also device methods to identify areas of mutual cooperation in this regard.

II. Expanding frontiers of Trade and Investment through Innovation and Knowledge

The leaders underlined their determination to enhance bilateral trade and investment. Both sides confirmed the importance of a balanced Free Trade Agreement between India and the EU and agreed to deepen efforts to restart negotiations between the EU and India on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement.

Both sides reiterated their strong support for a rules-based international trading system with the WTO at its centre. Against this backdrop all efforts should be made to restore the full functioning of the WTO dispute settlement system and reform the WTO without undermining its fundamental principles such as Special and Differential Treatment, consensus based decision making and development objectives. To this end both Parties will strive to make the next WTO Ministerial Conference in Nursultan, Kazakhstan a success.

Both leaders appreciated the sustained growth in bilateral investments. They welcomed the success of the ‘Make in India Mittelstand’ (MIIM) Programme which has helped facilitate over 135 German Mittelstand and family-owned companies with a declared investment of more than 1.2 billion Euros. They also agreed to intensify efforts for an early conclusion of an investment protection agreement between the EU, the EU Member States and India. India welcomed Germany’s decision to reinstate its policy to grant investment guarantees for eligible direct investments by German companies in India as a means to deepen bilateral economic ties. The leaders appreciated the work of the Fast Track mechanisms which have resulted in a stronger business confidence.

Both leaders acknowledged the successful work under the German Indian Startup Exchange Program (GINSEP) in promoting the exchange between both startup ecosystems. They welcomed the continuation and strengthening of this important initiative via the new GINSEP programme as well as the introduction of a new German Accelerator (GA) programme “Next Step India”, which could lead to a full GA programme for German Startups in India.

The leaders recognized the importance of building an efficient pool of skilled human resources for creating sustainable livelihood and opportunities for the youth. Both sides expressed their willingness to intensify their efforts to bridge the gap between the demand and shortage of skilled work force. In this regard, they expressed satisfaction at the on-going activities and welcomed the renewal of the Joint Declaration of Intent on cooperation in fields such as the establishment of cluster-oriented structures, curricula development, training of trainers and support for the development of Joint Training Institutes. Furthermore, both sides acknowledged their readiness to support skill development in new, innovative and sustainable technologies such as renewable energy, e-mobility and energy-efficiency and encourage the private sector of both countries to join in these efforts.

Both leaders appreciated the successful cooperation of more than a decade in the framework of the Manager Training Programme ‘Fit for Partnership with Germany’. More than 800 Indian managers have participated in the programme so far. They welcomed the continuation of the cooperation under this programme.

The leaders welcomed a further exchange of national initiatives on new forms of work with emerging new technologies. Furthermore, to advance in the eradication of child labour and forced labour including in global supply chains, they agreed to follow-up on the G20 strategy to eradicate child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery in the world of work agreed on under the Argentinian G20 presidency.

The leaders highlighted the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights and reiterated their commitment to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the G20 commitments on fostering sustainable supply chains. Both sides acknowledged that private sector can contribute substantively to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and expressed their wish to cooperate in supporting enterprises in conducting responsible and sustainable business practices. Both sides agreed on a further exchange of the experts and experiences especially regarding the establishment and implementation of the National Action Plans of India and Germany.

They also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Occupational Diseases, Rehabilitation and Vocational Training of Insured Persons with disabilities by the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), he Employees’ State Insurance Corporation and the Director General (Employment) under the Indian Ministry of Labour & Employment that will enable capacity building and social rehabilitation of Insured Persons with disabilities, besides prevention, detection and treatment of occupational diseases.

In the field of taxation both leaders welcome the recent progress on addressing the tax challenges arising from digitalization and welcome the endorsement of the ambitious work program by the G20 which consists of a two-pillar approach, developed by the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) at the OECD and which will be finalized with a report by 2020. Germany and India emphasized their shared willingness for reaching a timely, consensus-based solution on both pillars 1 and 2 that will level the playing field for all businesses.

Both leaders welcomed the resumption of the Indo-German Finance Ministries Senior Officials’ Meeting which provides a forum for discussion and exchange of information and mutual economic interest. Prominent issues in this year’s exchange were, amongst others, the financial and insurance sector as well as the tax challenges arising from digitalization.

In the field of transport, both leaders noted the signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent on cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation that enables exchange of information and best practices as well as collaboration in technical and non-technical training. They also encouraged their respective business enterprises to enter into arrangements for co-development and co-production of commercial aviation in India, including transfer of know-how and technologies.

India and Germany have a long-standing and successful history of railway cooperation. The leaders appreciated the benefits that have accrued over the years through working together on training of Railway professionals and exchange of technical information in the areas of railway safety, high speed and semi high speed, which will continue in the future and can be extended. The leaders expressed satisfaction at the intention of both sides to arrive at a common understanding on future course of action for undertaking High-Speed and Semi-High-Speed-Rail-projects in India.

Both sides appreciated the close cooperation in the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure based on the Joint Declaration of Intent signed at the IGC 2013. The two governments reaffirmed their commitment within the framework of bilateral technical and economic cooperation, and BMWi intends to support the Working Group beyond 2020 through its Global Project Quality Infrastructure (GPQI).

The leaders expressed satisfaction at the existing space cooperation between the two countries and welcomed the prospect of strengthening it further in areas such as earth observation and disaster management. They welcomed the signing of the Implementing Arrangement for exchange of personnel between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Welcoming the Coalition For Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), a global partnership of national governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, academic and knowledge institutions, which aims at making systems and infrastructure resilient to achieving the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Germany expressed support for the CDRI and announced its intention to join the CDRI formally while at the same time working with India and international partners for climate and disaster resilient and sustainable infrastructure investments.


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