Germany lauds India’s Afghan role, pushes UN reforms (Lead)

June 22nd, 2012 - 11:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 22 (IANS) Lauding New Delhi’s role in Afghanistan, Germany Friday assured India that it will continue to support the violence-torn country after international troops leave in 2014 and joined hands to push for reform of the UN Security Council.

“We appreciate very much that India will soon host a private sector conference to encourage more private investments in Afghanistan,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said at a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna after their talks here.

“We share this philosophy, we share this policy because we know security and development are two sides of the same coin,” he said. He was alluding to Regional Investors’ Conference India will be hosting in New Delhi June 28 to promote greater regional investment in Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan, the UN reforms and the Eurozone crisis were among a cluster of global issues that figured prominently in the talks between the two ministers here.

Westerwelle said that he assured Krishna that Germany’s commitment to Afghanistan will not stop in the end of 2014 after withdrawal of international combat troops.

“In the interest of long-term stability in Afghanistan and in the region, we will continue to support Afghanistan with civil assistance and by training,” he said.

India has pledged $2 billion for multifarious reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.

India and Germany, part of the G4 grouping that also includes Japan and Brazil, also pushed hard for reform of the UN Security Council to reflect contemporary power shifts.

“We had substantial and productive talks on a number of issues such as the reform of the United Nations. India and Germany, both countries share the same goal,” said Westerwelle.

“The situation has changed. We think the situation in the world, the architecture of the world, what we have now, should be represented in the Security Council also with the permanent membership,” he said.

The two ministers also took stock of the trajectory of the bilateral relationship as India and Germany celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Bilateral trade between India and Germany would touch 20 billion euros ($25 billion) during this calendar year despite debt crisis in Europe and the global economic slowdown, Krishna said.

“We are optimistic of the trade between the countries achieving 20 billion euros in 2012 as against 18 billion euros ($22.5 billion) in 2011 despite the banking crisis in Europe and slowdown globally,” Krishna said.

Stressing that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe was of great concern not only to India, but also worldwide, Krishna said as the Euro crisis had the potential of choking trade across the world, including India, Germany with a robust economy was in an enviable position to defuse the crisis.

Lauding Germany’s commitment to extend financial and political support to debt-ridden countries in Europe, Krishna said the reassurances of Westerwelle in tackling the banking crisis would provide a psychological strength to the affected countries and help them in overcoming their debt crisis.

“Germany has the firepower to take the EU on the path of a higher economic growth and in assisting the affected member-countries in solving their financial crisis,” he observed.

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