New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) India is looking forward to working with Germany on the 'convergent' vision of a free and an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Thursday, describing the country as one of New Delhi's most important friends in the European Union.
He also said that the post-Covid global order will require a concerted effort on the part of like-minded countries to ensure that the principles of multilateralism and a rules-based international order are respected by all.
Shringla was speaking at an event held to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Germany.
'Last year, Germany became the second European country to issue guidelines for the Indo-Pacific, which we welcome. We look forward to working with Germany on our convergent vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,' he said.
The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China's increasing military muscle-flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers. Several countries have already come out with their vision for the region.
In his remarks, Shringla said India and Germany must continue to enhance the level and quality of their strategic engagement as both have unique strengths that can be synergised to be a force for good in the world.
'The India-Germany strategic partnership, which was established in the year 2000, draws strength from an ever-expanding trade and investment relationship,' he said.
The foreign secretary also referred to cooperation between the two countries in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
'An important recent indicator of these ties has been the extensive cooperation between the two countries in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the areas of scientific research and supply of health-related products and equipment,' he said.
In the early days of the crisis, Shringla said, India supplied Germany with hydroxychloroquine and other pharmaceutical products in demand at that time.
'Subsequently, and in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic in India, Germany extended much-needed support in supplying health-related equipment and essential drugs and raw materials to India,' he said.
'I wish to take this opportunity to extend grateful thanks to the government and people of Germany for this timely and helpful gesture,' Shringla said.
The foreign secretary said enhanced cooperation in areas such as science and technology research and higher and vocational education has contributed to a high degree of mobility for students and professionals between India and Germany.
'Germany has been one of our most important friends in the European Union. The recommencement of negotiations on the India-EU trade and investment agreement augurs well for the future of our economic ties,' Shringla said.
A commemorative postage stamp to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties was also released on the occasion.
'When India announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany on March 7, 1951, it became one of the first countries to do so,' he said.
'The two countries have not looked back since. Today, the relationship is based on a foundation of close political and economic ties and a strong people-to-people connect,' he added. PTI MPB ZMN