In the run up to Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit to India later this week on 25 February, Dr Philipp Ackermann, German Ambassador to India tells The Quint that Adani-Hindenburg “scandal” will have no bearing on this high-on-business-agenda trip. Dr Ackermann says, “German companies are doing very well in India and we stay optimistic”.
He added, "There are about 2000 German companies in India. Many of them are small and medium size and they are doing great business".
The ambassador says that German Chancellor is coming to India as part of his plan to interact with PM on a regular basis. "He’ll come again in September for G-20 and then next year for a biennial engagement."
The Chancellor comes with high expectations as India is a business opportunity for European and German companies. Responding to The Quint's question on whether the Adani-Hindenburg saga is going to impact the business agenda, Dr Ackermann said Germany is more keen on things like Free Trade Agreements between the European Commission and India. "That will really ease our business in India."
The Chancellor will be accompanied the CEOs of 12 big companies including Siemens and SAP. The business delegation is expecting to meet their Indian counterparts and sign bilateral agreements.
Dr Ackermann says that at the moment German focus on China is brought to question. In terms of the market size, India is comparable to China. While Germany and India have a robust trade balance, despite the COVID-19 setback, there are certain reservations because of regulations and tariffs.
Germany's Expectations From India On Russia-Ukraine
Speaking of the geopolitical agenda of the bilateral visit, Dr Ackermann remarks that Germany understands India’s geo-strategic weight and its role in Indo-Pacific region. India’s involvement in world politics is significant, especially in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Responding to a question on India buying Russian oil, Dr Ackermann says "It is none of our business. The Russians are offering a great price so we cannot blame any government for buying oil from them".
As for India's role in bring about the resolution of the ongoing conflict, Dr Ackermann says that India must engage at some stage as it is an apt candidate to some up with a solution. He adds, however, "Now is not the time. India will have to find a good moment to step up".
About Germany's peace efforts, Dr Ackermann says, "The Chancellor is every now and then on phone with President Putin. There’s uninterrupted communication between Kremlin and some European capitals. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been successful. We believe in diplomatically resolving this conflict but it needs to be solved in a way that both the sides are amenable to it. Russian demands are outrageous. Putin did not mention peace and negotiation even once".