There is no winner in Ukraine war, all will suffer: PM in Berlin

India and Germany strengthen bilateral ties in talks between Modi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, signs 9 agreements

New Delhi: There are no victors in the Ukraine conflict and “everyone will suffer”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Berlin on Monday, as India and Germany strengthened their bilateral ties in talks between Mr Modi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and signed as many as nine agreements. These included a Green and Sustainable Development Partnership under which Germany will extend financial assistance to India to the tune of a whopping 10 billion euros until 2030, including possible “collaboration on Green Energy Corridors, such as the Leh-Haryana transmission line and the project of a carbon neutral Ladakh”.

While deciding to ramp up both trade ties and defence and security cooperation, both nations also declared they had finalised negotiations on a Comprehensive Migration and Mobility Partnership that will “facilitate two-way mobility of students, professional and researchers as well as addressing the challenges of illegal migration”.

The two leaders also co-chaired the sixth Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) between the two nations, with the German Chancellor inviting Mr Modi to attend the Group of Seven summit that will be held next month in Germany.

In the presence of Mr Modi at a media event, the German Chancellor appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the Ukraine war and accused Moscow of having violated international law by invading Ukraine. Speaking later and reiterating India’s stand for the immediate cessation of hostilities, Mr Modi said: “There would be no victors in the Ukraine conflict and everyone will suffer” due to it. But the differences in perception between the two nations were obvious in the joint statement, in which Germany strongly condemned Russia for its “unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine”, but New Delhi refrained from doing so.

Both nations, however, jointly “expressed their serious concern about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, unequivocally condemned civilian deaths in Ukraine, reiterated the need for immediate cessation of hostilities, and emphasised that the contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states”. Both leaders also “discussed the destabilising effect of the conflict in Ukraine and its broader regional and global implications” and agreed to remain closely engaged on the issue. They also called reiterated the significance of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, in a veiled indication towards China’s role.

Other bilateral pacts signed on Monday included one on implementation of Triangular Development Cooperation projects in Third Countries, another on the establishment of an agreement on the exchange and mutual protection of classified information and on the establishment of an agreement to establish a direct encrypted link between the MEA and the German Foreign Office and also ones on establishment of an Indo-German Green Hydrogen Task Force and bilateral cooperation on Renewable Energy Partnership.

Addressing the media in Mr Modi’s presence, the German Chancellor said: “Russia has violated the fundamental principles of international law ... I repeat my appeal to (President) Putin to end this war.” Mr Scholz also accused Russia of brutal attacks on Ukraine’s civilian population. He said both he and Mr Modi had agreed on the importance of a rules-based order and that “borders should not be changed through violence”.

Pointing out how fragile, peace and stability in the world are, Mr Modi noted that India had “immediately called for a ceasefire” in Ukraine from the very beginning of the conflict. “We believe no party will be victorious. Everyone will suffer. We are for peace… India is very concerned about the humanitarian impact,” he said. Mr Modi also pointed to the effects of the war on developing countries, adding that oil prices are skyrocketing with global shortages of food and fertilisers. He noted India has been extending humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

The ICG between both nations was also attended by senior ministers from both sides, including external affairs minister S. Jaishankar and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman from the Indian side. An official statement by New Delhi said: “Participating ministers and officials from both sides presented brief reports on their meetings on the different tracks of the IGC -- Foreign Affairs and Security, Economic, Financial Policy, Scientific and Social Exchange, and Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy.”

On ramping up trade ties, the joint statement said: “Germany and India are important trade and investment partners. Both sides expressed their strong support for the upcoming negotiations between the European Union and India on a Free Trade Agreement, an Investment Protection Agreement and an Agreement on Geographical Indications, and underlined the enormous potential of such agreements for expanding bilateral trade and investment. … India and Germany expressed their commitment to complete the protocol amending the double tax avoidance agreement quickly. In the field of bilateral trade and investment, both sides underlined their readiness to continue the successful format of the Indo-German Fast Track Mechanism, which has proven to be an important reference for current and future investors.”

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