Prime Minister Modi is currently on a four nation tour in Europe and Russia. The visit started with the European economic bellweather Germany. PM Modi had successful meetings with Chancellor Merkel and the German business leaders.
It is interesting to note that previous visits of Indian PMs in Germany had not received extensive coverage in German media. However, things changed this time around.
There are multiple reasons for this. For one, PM Modi had a track record to back him and convince the business fraternity. Secondly, PM Modi smartly was deferential to Chancellor Merkel. He respected her stature as a global leader and asked her to help Indian interests in European Union.
Finally, US President Trump always finds a way to be in news. In this case, he inadvertently helped India. Trump tweeted on 30th May that Germany has not been paying it’s fair share in NATO and trade deals. Chancellor Merkel hit back, with PM Modi alongside her, declaring that Germany has India by its side and she will increase trade ties with India. This can be seen together with her statement during the weekend that Germany has to look for other avenues, as USA is no longer a reliable partner.
The importance of this visit was not lost on the German media, who prominently covered the developments. Here are the key newspapers:
WELT / N24 said: “Germany wants to expand its relationship with India massively”
Germany’s premium business newspaper highlighted PM Modi’s statement “We are made for each other”
Süddeutsche Zeitung said “Hope comes from the East” – to contrast Indo-German relation with that of ongoing German-US upheaval.
Süddeutsche Zeitung also said, “Modi and Merkel close a deal worth close to a billion“.
Another newspaper highlighted India as the next best hope for Germany after Trump’s tirade on twitter, “India will profit from Germany’s Trump-problem“.
Not only German newspapers, but analysts across Europe also took note of this visit. Web publication Politico highlighted PM Modi’s initiation to restart EU-India trade talks.
Near future will tell us how much of this will help India on the ground. But if recent local polls in Germany are any indication, then we can expect Chancellor Merkel to win again this year. This will drive the next level of relations between India and Germany, as both leaders mentioned in their press interaction.