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Foreign Secretary's Remarks at the Release of Commemorative Postage Stamp on 70th anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between India and Germany

June 10, 2021

Invitees and Friends,

1. It is a matter of great satisfaction for me to be releasing this joint commemorative postage stamp on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Germany. I thank Ambassador Walter J. Lindner of Germany and Secretary, Department of Posts, Government of India Shri Vineet Pandey, for joining me on this important occasion.

2. When India announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany on 7 March 1951, it became one of the first countries to do so. 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.

3. 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. In the early days of the crisis, India supplied Germany with hydroxychoroquine 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. I wish to take this opportunity to extend grateful thanks to the Government and people of Germany for this timely and helpful gesture.

4. In a reflection of the close ties between the two countries, India and Germany have released several stamps in the past to honour each other. These stamps have represented our cultures, personalities and history. German stamps have honoured Mahatma Gandhi in 1969; and displayed Indian miniature paintings in 1979. On its part, Indian stamps honoured Beethoven in 1970; Max Mueller in 1974; Albert Einstein in 1979; and Robert Koch in 1982.

5. In March, 2021, the Hon’ble External Affairs Minister released a logo for the 70th anniversary of our celebrations. Besides the release of the joint stamp today, several other events have been planned by our Embassy in Berlin and the German Embassy in New Delhi.

6. The India-Germany Strategic Partnership, which was established in the year 2000, draws strength from an ever-expanding trade and investment relationship. 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.

7. 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.

8. Our regular institutional engagement at the higher political levels has provided guidance and lent momentum to the bilateral relationship. In the last 7 years, the Prime Minister and Chancellor Angela Merkel have met 12 times. Their virtual Summit in January this year provided opportunity for a high-level review all areas of bilateral, regional and global interest.

9. India and Germany consult and cooperate closely in multilateral and international organisations. We also engage on issues of interest to us such as counter-terrorism, cyber-security and climate change.

10. 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.

11. The post-pandemic global order will require 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. India and Germany must therefore continue to enhance the level and quality of their strategic engagement. We both have unique strengths that we can synergise to be a force for good in the world.

12. I convey my warm felicitations to the people of both our countries on this important milestone of 70 years of diplomatic relations. I am pleased to launch this joint commemorative stamp to mark the event.

Thank you.

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