Germany's Scholz arrives in India to 'deepen' ties

Talks between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to focus on the Ukraine war and trade opportunities.

Germany's Scholz arrives in India to 'deepen' ties
Germany's Scholz arrives in India to 'deepen' ties


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in India for a two-day visit on Saturday with the Ukraine war expected to dominate the discussions.

Scholz was met by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the capital New Delhi, where he received military honors.

"India and Germany have very good relations and want to deepen them. That will be the topic of our talks and, importantly, peace in the world," he told reported.

Scholz to challenge Modi over Ukraine war stance

The chancellor is expected to seek India's support for the tough stance taken by Europe and the US towards Russia over the war in Ukraine.

India has an officially neutral position in the conflict. Modi has refrained from any overt criticism of Russia as Moscow is a major arms supplier.

Russia also provides New Delhi with oil. Since the war began last February, India has increased its oil imports at a major discount due to European and US embargos.

At the UN General Assembly on Thursday, India abstained from voting on a resolution that passed demanding Russia withdraw from Ukraine.

Critics have accused India of undermining the West's sanctions on Moscow, while Indian officials have denounced what they say is the hypocrisy of Western countries, given their long history of military interventions around the world.

During Saturday's news conference with Scholz, Modi said India was "ready to contribute to any peace efforts," adding that New Delhi had been calling for a resolution of the crisis through dialogue and diplomacy since the war began.

Boosted trade ties could net Germany a big submarine order

Scholz is also keen to expand economic and strategic cooperation with India in order to reduce Germany's dependence on China and also to free New Delhi from its close ties with Moscow.

Over the past 15 years, Europe's largest economy benefited from the rise of China and cheap Russian energy, but concerns over Beijing flexing its muscle militarily and the war in Ukraine have spurred the need to decouple from both countries.

Germany, alongside South Korea, is reported to be in the running to supply India with six new submarines — a deal thought to be worth $5.2 billion (€4.9 billion).

Scholz is also expected to press for progress toward an India-EU free trade deal and an investment protection agreement.

A German official in Berlin said the two sides remain "quite some distance apart." on the trade deal.

But speaking in Delhi, Scholz said he and Modi were committed to making it happen, adding: "It's an important topic and I'll get personally involved."

In May of last year, Germany and India signed a series of bilateral agreements focused on sustainable development under which India will receive $10.5 billion in aid by 2030 to boost the use of clean

The trip is Scholz's first official visit to India, though it is his fourth meeting with Modi since taking office in 2021.

On Sunday, Modi will take Scholz to India's information technology hub Bengaluru.

Scholz is traveling with a delegation of business leaders, although no executives from major carmakers are on the trip. Germany's auto manufacturers have said in the past India is a tough market to crack due to regulation and trade barriers.

mm/ar (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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