Berlin, Brussels and Washington plan traffic corridor from Europe via the Middle East to India. The project is intended to rival the New Silk Road and bind India tighter to the West.
BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI (Own report) – Germany is participating in plans to build a transport corridor all the way to India, in cooperation with the EU and USA. According to a decision taken by Washington, Brussels, Berlin and the governments of other countries on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi, an India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) is to link Europe and South Asia. It will be a combination of a rail and shipping corridor and include the construction of submarine cables. The delivery of green hydrogen from Israel to Europe is also planned. The project is designed to compete with China’s New Silk Road, as well as to bind New Delhi tighter to the EU and pit it against Beijing. IMEC is the fourth major infrastructure project launched by the EU and USA to diminish the importance of the New Silk Road. Two are considered failures, one (“Global Gateway”) is advancing only slowly. And yet there is a great need for investment in the infrastructure sector worldwide, leaving room for Chinese and transatlantic projects of any magnitude - side by side and simultaneously. Read more
On visit to India, Habeck promotes conclusion of free trade agreement with EU. German business representatives clearly reject plan to substitute trade with India for that with China.
NEW DELHI/BERLIN (Own report) – On his visit to India, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck is pushing for a swift conclusion of a free trade agreement with the EU. “We have the opportunity now to make progress within the next six months,” Habeck declared in New Delhi yesterday. The agreement has been under negotiations since 2007. They were suspended in 2013 and resumed only last year. According to the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), both sides are under pressure to conclude the agreement. However, “there is good reason to doubt” whether the two parties’ highly diverging interests can be reconciled. Skeptical assessments are also being made concerning Berlin’s plans to transfer as much German trade as possible from China to India. In view of India’s excessive bureaucracy and serious infrastructure deficiencies, Princeton economist Ashoka Mody warns that “the allegation that India is booming, is completely false.” Prospects are currently emerging in the solar industry. Berlin also wants to boost its arms exports – partly to counter the Indian-Russian arms cooperation. Read more
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits India this weekend – in an effort to drive a wedge between New Delhi and Moscow and to redirect German Asia business from China to India.
NEW DELHI/BERLIN (Own report) – With his visit to India, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz continues his efforts to drive a wedge between New Delhi and Moscow. Scholz will hold talks this weekend in the Indian capital and in Bengaluru, in an attempt to bind India more closely to the West. The Indian government still refuses to join sanctions against Russia or to politically isolate Moscow. It is, instead, expanding its trade with Russia and promoting a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine war. In a concerted effort to prevent this, Western states had applied massive pressure on New Delhi last year. Now they are trying a sort of engagement strategy. Scholz plans to also encourage India to strengthen business relations. Berlin seeks to scale back German business relations with China, and instead expand business with other Asian countries. According to a recent survey among German enterprises in Singapore and India, around 70 percent do not want to invest in India because of widely-known unfavorable conditions. Read more
West makes no progress in isolating Russia. India expands trade with Russia, Turkey welcomes Russian oligarchs. Expert accuses the West of neocolonial “hypocrisy.”
BERLIN/MOSCOW/NEW DELHI (Own report) – Five weeks after the Russian intervention In Ukraine, western powers still fail to globally isolate Russia. During a visit to India yesterday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s foreign policy adviser Jens Plötner tried to persuade New Delhi to abandon its cooperation with Moscow. Other representatives of western states had already previously traveled to the Indian capital, pursuing the same objective – to no avail. India is increasing its purchase of Russian oil and is continuing to develop a payment system independent of the US dollar and SWIFT. Still only 48 countries are participating in the western sanctions against Russia. Three-quarters of all UN member states are refusing to comply, despite the partially considerable pressure being exerted on them. Saudi foreign policy expert Mansour Almarzoqi declared that he sees “absolutely no difference” between the wars against Iraq (USA, 2003) and against Ukraine (Russia 2022) and accuses the West of “hypocrisy”: “hidden behind the thin façade of human rights and democracy rhetoric” lies the naked “colonial heritage of the West.” Read more
EU set to revive free-trade talks with India. Meager western Covid-19 aid sparks criticism in India of Hindu-nationalist's westward orientation.
BERLIN/NEW DELHI (Own report) - Despite the murderous escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, the EU continues to refuse a vaccine patent waiver, pushing instead for a free-trade agreement with that country. The EU-India summit on Saturday is expected to decide on reviving respective negotiations with the intention of making India a business alternative to China. The EU's demands traditionally include the agrarian sector's deregulation, which provoked the current mass protests of Indian farmers. German business representatives urge caution against too strong of a focus on business with India: Efforts to expand this business have failed already in the past due to India's excessive red tape and poor infrastructure. Government measures have also repeatedly disregarded the interests of foreign investors, according to the Federation of German Industries (BDI). In view of the meager Western aid for combating the pandemic, demands are becoming louder among India's elite for repudiating the governing Hindu nationalists' pro-US orientation and calling for a return to non-alignment. Read more
German think tanks call for closer cooperation with India - also militarily - targeting China.
BERLIN/NEW DELHI (Own report) - In the run-up to the next EU-India summit, on May 8, influential German think tanks call for Germany and the EU to intensify their cooperation with India, in light of the West's power struggle with China. New Delhi is also taking a stance against Beijing and sees itself as a major Asian counterpart to the People's Republic of China. Border conflicts between the two countries in the Himalayas have recently led to military clashes with casualties on both sides. In its course against China, India can rely on the growing military cooperation with the USA. The influential Bertelsmann Foundation is now recommending that Berlin and the EU step up their military and armament cooperation with New Delhi. Human rights organizations are raising serious accusations against the Indian government, because of its brutal repression of the current farmer protests and also members of the opposition in Kashmir. Kashmiri repressive forces are using assault rifles made by the US affiliate company to Germany's Sig Sauer arms manufacturer. Read more
NEW DELHI/BERLIN (Own report) - In view of the Indo-German intergovernmental consultations coming up this weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for "consolidating" Berlin's relations with New Delhi. Economic cooperation, as well as cooperation in foreign and military policy must be intensified, according to government circles. This has also been confirmed by a recent resolution in the Bundestag. Using India's traditional rivalry with China, western powers are seeking New Delhi's help to impede Beijing's rise. While US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has openly declared that US military cooperation with India is aimed at containing the influence of the People's Republic, the German Bundeswehr is also expanding its cooperation with India's armed forces. Nevertheless, Berlin's protracted efforts to enhance the bilateral relations are showing little progress. While German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is praising common "values", human rights organizations are raising serious accusations against India's government. Read more