India and Europe

In a speech at the DGAP, Foreign Minister Shri Salman Khurshid stresses common ground

29/01/2013 | 15:00 - 16:30 | DGAP | Invitation only

Speech

Category: India, Bilateral Relations

Foreign Minister Khurshid’s visit was in step with efforts to strengthen India’s strategic partnership with Germany. A major push for which came in May 2012, when the first Indo-German intergovernmental consultation was held in New Delhi. In both his speech and the discussion that followed, Khurshid stressed common interests, including UN reform. “We need to adapt the UN system to better reflect reality.”

Foto: Dirk Enters

Shri Salman Khurshid, Foreign Minister of India

Three months after taking office, India’s foreign minister, Shri Salman Khurshid, made his inaugural visit to the German government on January 28 and 29, including a visit to the DGAP to discuss India’s foreign policy.

Germany and India have had diplomatic relations since their founding after World War II. Currently, the partners have many close economic and cultural ties. “Germany,” said Khurshid “is for us a key partner and our point of access to the bigger EU.”

Khurshid also made it clear that India, which has been a growing economic power, wants to take on responsibility in international relations and make its voice heard on the world stage.

Reform and Relationships

The first step is pushing for a adequate representation in international organizations. A central goal, shared by India and Germany, is UN reform. It is not only a matter of gaining permanent membership on the Security Council. “We need to adapt the UN system to better reflect reality.” The UN is far from perfect, but “it’s where all questions of global importance have to be addressed.”

Khurshid pointed to relations with Iran, to illustrate India’s view of the importance of maintaining relations. The door to talks should never be completely shut. Naturally, criticism is still allowed. One can criticize aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, but must also keep an open dialogue. Further, Khurshid stressed the persistent defense of freedom as a guiding principle of India’s foreign policy – a position that reflects India’s own fight for independence and in that way has become a central national value. As a result, India feels especially connected to those currently fighting for freedom.

The discussion following Khurshid’s speech touched on, among other issues, India’s turbulent neighborhood and the efforts being made to address the high levels of poverty that persist in India despite impressive economic growth. China was also discussed. In Khurshid’s view, India’s large neighbor to the north is both a rival and a partner. “We still don’t have answers to many questions, like border disagreements, but we have found a way to talk about things.”

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