International Affairs



It is with great pleasure that I accept the Letter of Credence from His Excellency Mr. Johannes Rau, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, accrediting you as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to India. On behalf of the people and the Government of India, I extend a warm welcome to you, as well as my good wishes for the success of your assignment.

Excellency, you begin your tenure in India at an exciting time in our bilateral relationship. India and Germany have embarked on a process of intensified dialogue and interaction and our bilateral relationship is better placed today than it has ever been in the recent past. I recall with deep pleasure my visit to Germany in September 1998; my discussions with the Federal President, the Chancellor and other German leaders on that occasion convinced me of the immense potential that exists for strengthening the linkages between India and Germany. I am happy to note that the succeeding months have proved that my conviction was well-founded.

We have adopted the "Agenda for Indo-German Partnership in the 21st Century" which is, as you have said, indicative of our mutual commitment to intensify bilateral relations. This agenda outlines a comprehensive road-map for further developing our contacts and identifying sectors for mutually beneficial co-operation. We have also initiated a bilateral strategic dialogue, which would, undoubtedly, serve as a useful mechanism for sharing perceptions on major regional and international issues of common concern.

We now look forward to stepping up the pace and extent of interaction between our two countries. Though we deeply regret the postponement of President Rau’s visit to India, we fully understand the reasons. We, however, would hope to receive both the President and Chancellor Schroeder in India in the year 2001. We shall also be happy to welcome your Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, Environment Minister and Finance Minister to India this year. We are sure that such regular high level contacts will provide an extra impetus to our bilateral relations and co-operation between the two countries.

The period following the launch of India’s economic reform programme has as you have observed, witnessed a rapid expansion in Indo-German trade and commercial relations. Germany is today India’s one of the largest trading partners in Europe and worldwide as also a major source of technology and foreign investment. The actual figures, however, leave considerable scope for improvement. There exists vast untapped potential for further expanding bilateral trade and investment, especially given the positive developments which have taken place with regard to the investment climate in India. This is one of the areas in which your personal interest and attention during your tenure in India can make a difference.

Turning to the cultural relations, we look forward to the opening of the Festival of Germany in India. It is particularly appropriate that this Festival should be held during the death centenary year of Max Mueller, the great German Indophile and scholar whose name is synonymous with Indo-German ties. We are certain that this Festival will make Germany a vivid and exciting reality for the people of India.

Excellency, as you have rightly observed, our two nations have shared fundamental values and mutual political interests: of commitment to pluralism, democracy, peace, rule of law, federalism, freedom of expression, free trade, openness to the outside world and also to the preservation of the resources on which life depends. This is the basis on which we have built the Indo-German partnership over the past half a century. We also look forward to working together for the achievement of our common objective of a more equitable and participatory world order.

India and Germany are united in the conviction that fundamentalism and cross-border terrorism pose the most serious threat to international peace and security. We need to translate this conviction into practical co-operation to tackle this global menace. The European Union has extended valuable support to the Indian draft Convention for Combating International Terrorism. We hope that Germany, as an influential member of the EU, will play its part in the negotiation and adoption of this Convention.

Let me conclude, Excellency, by wishing you the very best for your assignment in India. We look to you to build upon the new dynamism and vitality which is evident today in our relationship. I assure you the fullest co-operation of my government in your efforts to achieve this objective and wish you the very best in your endeavours.

Thank you

Jai Hind