NEW DELHI: Germany has ruled out the possibility of expansion of the elite power block G7 at the moment, German Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, Dr Tobias Lindner said on Thursday.
“Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s not the debate at the moment, to be honest. It’s the same like looking, for instance, at the Security Council at the moment,” Dr Lindner told The New Indian.
“I think we all know the world has changed. The world is not living anymore in the 21st century. And therefore for us, it’s important that the G7 is not a close circle or club in the sense that only seven countries are meeting and talking to each other. Other countries are invited. The G7 is reaching out to like-minded countries and strategic partners all over the world,” he added.
While there were talks about India’s inclusion in the G7, Dr Lindner made no commitment on the issue. “I only can emphasize that India is a great partner for us. It’s in our own interest to close ties with India,” he said.
Calling the present G7 format “outdated” in 2020, former US President Donald Trump urged for the opening of G7 doors by inducting Australia, India, Russia and South Korea. The US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy are in the elite block at present. Germany is the chair of the upcoming G7 summit in June 2022. “Our Government and India are strategic partners. We want to deepen the bilateral relations with India in various fields,” Dr Lindner said.
Indicating security is an identified area for cooperation, Germany also expressed its interest to know India’s security concerns from China. “We want to give the Indo-Pacific region higher priority in the bilateral relations, in our foreign policy. That’s what we are looking for like-minded countries and can show you India is a key player among them,” the economist turned politician said.
Speaking on India’s stance on Ukraine, Dr Lindner said, “To make it clear, I’m not here to teach and preach. I’m here to understand the Indian perspective and pull India, then push India.”
“I believe it’s a common interest to follow rules-based order because that’s the basis for peace, sovereignty, territorial integrity but also for closer economic ties. It’s a great opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the Indian and regional perspective on the Indo-Pacific and various conflicts,” he said.
“It is also an opportunity to understand how the war of aggression affected us and to explain our position. Ukraine is much closer to us. It’s just a 90 minute flight from Berlin,” he added.