Indian Prime Minister Modi embarked on six-day tour of Europe from May 29-June 3, 2017, to four nations – Germany, France, Spain and Russia. The tour was aimed at advancing India’s foreign policy priorities including the issue of terrorism, and climate change. However, most important of all, it was to increase trade and investment ties with key European countries that topped Modi’s agenda.
Starting on May 29, Modi’s first destination was Germany. The visit took place at a time when US, under its new President Donald Trump has refused to re-commit to the 2015 Paris climate deal at the G-7 summit. This US decision has been a major disappointment for the world, particularly Germany. At the same time, a number of analysts in India have been urging that this is the time India should take a lead role in this regard. The visit was also important as Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe. Bilateral trade between the two countries was valued at € 17.42 billion in 2016. Germany is also the 7th largest foreign direct investor in India since January 2000. German FDI in India in 2016 was valued at $ 1.1 billion. Germany’s total FDI in India from April 2000 until March 2017 amounted to US$ 9.69 billion.[i] During the recent visit, the two countries have signed 12 MoUs in the fields of cyber policy, development initiatives, railway security and promoting vocational training. A joint statement was issued following the fourth India-Germany Intergovernmental Consultations in which the issue of terrorism found a special focus. Both the countries expressed their resolve to take “strong measures” against those who encourage, support and finance terrorism.[ii] Other important issues that were discussed between the two leaders during their informal talks included Brexit, China’s one belt one road initiative, terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, smart cities, skill development and clean energy.