In stark contrast to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s unflattering remarks about India, the German Embassy in the country on Friday posted a series of tweets expressing sympathy and concern for the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and promising cooperation to fight the pandemic.
“German Embassy in India and the German government are following the Covid 19 pandemic in India with deep sympathy and concern. India is our strategic partner, and we share a strong conviction that the challenges of this global crisis can only be met through international cooperation,” the tweet by the German Embassy in India said.
It also highlighted the collaboration between German company Linde and Tata to secure 24 oxygen transport tanks that will soon be airlifted to India to boost transport capacity from production sites to Covid19 hotspots.
Furthermore, the German mission stated that Germany is joining hands with the UNICEF to set up cold chains for the country’s vaccination programme. “Germany is partnering with UNICEF to set up cooling chains for the vax prog under GerIndi Corona Emergency Prog (€ 30 mn). Robert-Koch-Institut and the Min of Health are studying the possibility of the co-op in establishing Biosafety Level 4 Laboratories in India,” the tweet said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel laments ‘they allowed India to become the pharmacy of the world’
The charm-offensive by the German Embassy in India came after Chancellor Angela Merkel lamented that they “allowed” India to become a major pharmaceutical producer in the world, while the industry has declined in Europe. She was worried that now EU countries will not receive enough medicines from India as there is a huge surge in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Angela Merkel said, “The truth is, we haven’t treated our pharmaceutical industry so well for many years…I am glad that we still have pharmaceutical production in Belgium, Holland, Germany.” Highlighting the issue of vaccine shortage, she said, “We now have a situation with India where, in connection with the emergency situation of the pandemic, we are worried whether the pharmaceutical products will still come to us.”
Furthermore, Merkel cautioned, “Of course, we have only allowed India to become such a large pharmaceutical producer in the first place, also from the European side, in the expectation that this should then also be complied with. If that is not the case now, we will have to rethink.”
Merkel’s comments have drawn sharp comments from geopolitics commentators and experts from around the world. Many have opined tha Merkel’s statement about India and its pharmaceuticals were tone deaf and patronising.