Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel visited India from 31 October – 1 November 2019 for the fifth round of Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC). Chancellor Merkel was accompanied by Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Science and Education, Food and Agriculture, and an Official Delegation. A business delegation comprising leaders of German companies also accompanied Chancellor Merkel. During the visit, Chancellor Merkel held meetings with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Modi.
Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Modi reiterated that the Indo-German Strategic Partnership is based on the common values and principles of democracy, free and fair trade, and rules-based international order, as well as on mutual trust and respect. Key issues in the discussions included jointly driving the digital transformation through innovation and frontier technologies, especially artificial intelligence, making economic growth sustainable by cooperating on climate change, creating space for people to people contacts through legal mobility for skilled labour, and contributing to a reliable international order by strengthening and updating multilateral institutions.
Strengthening Cooperation in the Field of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation
Recognising that AI will fundamentally impact the way the world lives and works in the coming years both sides intend to work together to foster, encourage and develop cooperation on AI technologies and thereby promote innovation and sustainable development.
Both sides reaffirmed the importance of building Digital Partnership to intensify regular interaction and coordination towards collaboration on the next generation technologies. India and Germany aspire to build a collaborative partnership by leveraging advantages on each side recognising increasing integration of hardware and software in developing IoT and AI solutions for societal benefits.
Both sides have drawn out their country strategies on AI and recognise its potential on research and innovation as well as on society in general. The potential synergies in focus areas such as Health, Mobility, Environment and Agriculture offer immense opportunities for enhancing cooperation and building on our comparative advantages. Germany and India intend to engage in further cooperation especially by fostering multidisciplinary research and development in AI by sharing expertise and best practices. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Department of Science and Technology, through the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre, agreed to organize a bilateral workshop in Berlin in 2020 in order to identify areas of mutual interest.
Recognizing that international cooperation has long been a key feature of cutting-edge research projects, Germany and India agreed on working together closely to conduct joint bilateral and/or multilateral research and development activities on the development and use of AI. This also includes cooperation between German and Indian companies which are part of the same global value chains. Both sides stressed the unique opportunity to enhance Indo-German collaboration in the area of AI for health. They welcomed the first stakeholder meeting in Berlin in September 2019 and agreed on facilitating another such meeting in India.
Both leaders welcomed AI collaborations in Agriculture such as precision farming with the aim to increase efficiency and to save resources as well as reduction of food losses and waste. Additionally, both Ministries of Agriculture aim to establish open training data sets for AI applications that also address legal issues. Both sides welcomed the Round Table with NITI Aayog and German companies of 30 September 2019 exploring opportunities for the application and upscaling of digital technologies and AI in agriculture in India, ensuring the participation of the private sector. Germany and India agree to share research on the complexities arising out of adoption of AI in the workplace and its impact on the economy and society through a joint workshop.
Germany and India want to foster business cooperation in the digital sector. Therefore German and Indian digital companies will jointly work towards further enhancing the scope of market opportunity and bilateral investments in each other’s countries and creating greater bonds between their thriving tech ecosystems.
Germany and India recalled the Joint Declaration in the Field of Digitalization – Empowerment and Economic Impact – signed on the 30 May 2017 in Berlin and agreed on broadening this Digital Dialogue. Both Sides welcomed the initiative of Indian and German business to set up a “Digital Experts Group” comprising of representatives of Research Institutions and private enterprises to identify areas for mutual cooperation and to give recommendations for future policy initiatives to be jointly considered by both sides.
Both sides agreed to create linkages between the German Platform Industrie 4.0 and the upcoming CII Smart Manufacturing Platform for cooperation and exchange of information including in standardization, IT-security in networked systems, testbeds and use cases, business models and B2B-platforms, and on topics shaping future digital ecosystems for Industry 4.0. Germany and India underline the importance of a rapid convergence of start-up ecosystems in both countries, welcoming initiatives that allow entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and share projects. Both leaders recognized the importance of fostering collaboration between Start-ups. In this regard, they welcomed the proposal to conduct Boot Camps for Start-ups which will help create an ecosystem for promoting innovation and fostering entrepreneurship in the digital area.
Both sides reaffirmed the importance of building an international forum to ensure the responsible and human centric development and use of artificial intelligence in accordance with international law. As such, Germany and India welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI).
Germany and India agreed on consulting each other on identifying best possible approaches on cyber security and also device methods to identify areas of mutual cooperation in this regard.
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