Germany is inclined to opt for an interim solution; India wants to settle the issue once and for all

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ended her day-long interaction with the Indian leadership with divergence of views evident on political issues, especially on the pace of expansion of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the bombing of Libya.

Of the dozen issues discussed during the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Dr. Merkel, India assured Germany a transparent selection process for a multi-billion dollar tender for fighter aircraft and a stable investment policy.

This was in response to the German pitch for the Eurofighter Typhoon and higher foreign investment limit in sectors such as insurance. India also promised to look into intellectual property issues of concern to German companies, including one instance of a messy court case.

Both Germany and India, part of the G-4 grouping along with Japan and Brazil, are pushing for their inclusion in an expanded UNSC, but their divergent views came to the fore.

Germany is inclined to opt for an interim solution in which some of the countries are accommodated without veto rights. A final resolution could take place a decade later. On the other hand, India, along with Brazil, wants to settle the issue once and for all. It has already received endorsements from 80 developing countries and is aiming to add 20 more by the time the U.N. General Assembly convenes in September.

Asked at the joint press conference whether Germany was departing from the spirit of the consensus among the G-4 for one lasting solution, Dr. Singh said: “Both Germany and India have been arguing for a long time that the global system needs to be brought up to date in tune with contemporary realities. The new realities of the global scene have to be taken into account in looking at reform of the global structures of governance. India and Germany have been partners in this exercise. I sincerely hope that this partnership will persist, that it will yield positive results.”

The German Chancellor too did not give a direct reply: “We are actually aligning our policies as to how we can bring about reform… we should focus our energies and our capacity for speeding up this process which after all has already started a long time ago. Maybe together we can bring something about.''

On Libya, while India wants an immediate ceasefire, Germany wants a regime change.

On pushing for the Eurofighter aircraft, Dr. Merkel conceded that Germany is “very much interested” in further intensifying its relationship with India.

India and Germany signed agreements in vocational training, science and technology and research between some of institutions to encourage greater exchanges in areas such as biotechnology, nano-technology and material sciences.

Dr. Singh congratulated Dr. Merkel on the conferment of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding for the year 2009. The award was presented later in the evening at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Pratibha Patil.

The German Chancellor then attended a classical music concert, featuring German and Indian musicians, to mark the launch the Year of Germany in India.

More In: National | News