Indrani Bagchi| TNN | Updated: May 30, 2017, 08.36 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent. That’s what I experienced over the past several days,” Merkel said.
  • Merkel’s meeting with the leaders of India and China this week has raised questions about the new weight being placed on these relationships.

BERLIN: As PM Narendra Modi landed here on Monday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s recent outburst+ appears to have centred attention on the Germany-India relationship.

Addressing an election rally in Munich on Sunday, Merkel said in remarks that have echoed around the world, “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent. That’s what I experienced over the past several days.”

While the obvious target of her remarks was US President Donald Trump, and the challenges presented by Trump’s potential reversal+ from the Paris climate accord, the fact that she is meeting the leaders of India and China this week has raised questions about the new weight being placed on these relationships.

The emphasis on the Asia relationships featured prominently at the government briefings for journalists on Monday. (The entire German government, in a unique gesture, meets the press three times every week to answer questions from the media.)

Merkel and Modi held one-on-one talks+ in her country retreat on Monday evening, which covered regional and global issues from climate change to Afghanistan and terrorism.

Modi has clarified that India would continue on its path towards a cleaner future, regardless of what the US does. A similar message has come from China. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will be in Berlin on Wednesday, hours after Modi’s visit, to work with Germany. Senior government sources said Germany would not make their ties with India and China a “zero-sum game”. However, it would be hard not to compare the two.

For one thing, the Germany-China economic relationship is pretty deep, though both sides have been locked into long-running negotiations on an investment and trade pact, like India. Germany was much more China-positive, but this tide appears to have turned in recent years as it has expressed reservations about China’s predatory trading practices. Although Germany sent an official-level delegation to the OBOR summit, it has asked for the OBOR process to be made more transparent, in accordance with WTO.

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