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India and Germany explore defence cooperation, submarine project on the cards

India and Germany are looking to enhance their defence cooperation, with a possible submarine project on the agenda. The two countries held their first-ever 2+2 dialogue of foreign and defence ministers in New Delhi on Tuesday, where they discussed various aspects of bilateral and multilateral security issues.

According to sources, Germany has expressed interest in participating in India’s Project-75I, which aims to acquire six advanced diesel-electric submarines with air-independent propulsion systems and land-attack cruise missiles. The project is estimated to cost around Rs 50,000 crore and is being pursued under the strategic partnership model that involves foreign and Indian firms.

Germany is one of the leading manufacturers of submarines in the world, with its HDW class 214 and 212A submarines being operated by several navies. India already operates four HDW class 209 submarines, which were acquired in the 1980s and are undergoing a mid-life upgrade.

The two sides also discussed the possibility of cooperation in other areas of defence production, such as aerospace, cyber security and artificial intelligence. They agreed to enhance their defence exchanges and joint exercises, especially in the Indian Ocean region.

The 2+2 dialogue was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh from the Indian side, and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer from the German side. The dialogue was initiated during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Germany in 2019.

The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based international order and a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. They also expressed their support for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and called for an immediate end to violence and terrorism in the country.

The ministers also exchanged views on the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on health, economy and society. They appreciated each other’s efforts in combating the virus and agreed to strengthen their cooperation in vaccine development and distribution.

The ministers also reviewed the progress of the India-EU strategic partnership and welcomed the outcome of the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting held in May this year. They agreed to work together on various global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, counter-terrorism and reform of multilateral institutions.

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