People in front of the Taj Mahal, a mausoleum in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India

India An important partner in international cooperation

India, with its more than 1.3 billion inhabitants, is the largest parliamentary democracy in the world. In spite of the many challenges that India faces, in political terms the country has managed to remain largely stable since it was founded in 1947. And it has made progress in reducing poverty.

According to the 2019 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), the percentage of the population living below the poverty line fell from 55 per cent in 2006 to 28 per cent in 2016. Although the prosperous middle and upper classes are growing, there are still many millions of people who must get by on the equivalent of 1.90 US dollars a day.

Achieving poverty reduction while at the same time protecting natural resources is the biggest challenge that India's politicians, businesses and society are facing.

Development cooperation

India has a key role to play in finding solutions for global challenges such as how to protect the climate or achieving the global development goals adopted in the 2030 Agenda. That is why India is one of Germany's “global development partners” for international development cooperation.

Priority areas of German-Indian development cooperation are renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable urban development, and environmental protection and resource conservation. The main focus of this cooperation is supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Construction workers at a building site in the Indian capital New Delhi

Focus on economic policy Internal link

With around ten million young people entering the Indian labour market each year, the focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is on economic policy and creating jobs.

Passers-by in a slum in New Delhi, India, where the population lives mainly from garbage collection

Extreme wealth and extreme poverty Internal link

India is a country of extreme contrasts: metropolitan areas such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, which are booming, and a growing number of billionaires; but also millions of people living in extreme poverty.

Skyline of Hyderabad, India

Business climate markedly improved Internal link

Over the past twenty years, India has seen stable economic growth. In 2018, the national economy grew by 6.8 per cent, and for 2019 and 2020 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expecting just a slight decline.

With scarce and erratic rainfall, and frequent droughts in the region, a pastoralist community of Rajasthan, Raikas follow the practice of moving their flocks and herds in search of water and forage.

Natural resources under pressure Internal link

India's rapid economic development, its huge consumption of raw materials and its high population density are placing an ever greater strain on the environment. India is the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

German development cooperation with India

German-Indian development cooperation is a matter of painstaking dialogue between equal partners. It is characterised by mutual trust and a high degree of success.

German cooperation with global development partners such as India focuses on programmes with a structural impact. These programmes build on India's own efforts and reform programmes. They demonstrate model solutions and leave the participating partners qualified to carry on with, or extend, the projects on their own.

In 2019, Germany committed a record amount of 1.614 billion euros for cooperation with India. Of that total, 1.595 billion euros is for Financial cooperation. The lion's share of this funding is provided as loans at near-market conditions, to be paid back with interest by India.

The following priority areas have been agreed by the two governments for their programme of collaboration:

  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Environmental protection and resource conservation

Other German activities in India include measures being implemented under Germany's special “ONE WORLD – No Hunger” initiative, support for a Green Innovation Centre, measures to protect the soil and boost food and nutrition security, and measures to improve sustainability in the cotton producing sector.

Technical and vocational education and training

Furthermore, Germany is actively supporting India in its efforts to set up a dual system of practice-oriented vocational education and training, in order to help create job opportunities for the younger population and improve the competitiveness of medium-sized businesses. At the German-Indian government consultations in November 2019, two declarations of intent in this regard were signed. Private sector companies are also being closely involved in these arrangements; for example, an agreement has been concluded with Siemens India.

A solar engineer checks a solar-powered street lamp.

Impact on the global climate Internal link

Energy consumption in India is increasing inexorably, yet most of the existing power generating plants are obsolete and inefficient. Moreover, they emit excessive amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Power supply in India – in particular in rural areas – falls well short of demand. This shortage is also severely hampering economic development. Yet India is already causing the third-highest level of carbon dioxide emissions in the world, exceeded only by China and the USA. The country's economic and environmental policies therefore have a direct impact on the world's climate.

Commuters in Mumbai's subway, India

Improving the quality of life in burgeoning cities

Internal link

Approximately one third of India's population lives in urban areas; a quarter of these urban inhabitants are slum-dwellers, living in very poor conditions. Currently, the urban population is growing by 2.3 per cent a year. It is estimated that the number of people living in India's cities will grow by more than 140 million over the next fifteen years. And yet, India's cities are already unable to provide the infrastructure that their inhabitants need.

Mangrove forest in India

Protecting eco-systems and adapting to climate change Internal link

It is a matter of national and global importance that India protect the quality of its soil, water and air, and that it conserve biodiversity on the Indian sub-continent. To date, however, the Indian government has made only limited progress towards curbing environmental degradation and mitigating the impacts of climate change.