Interaction with Dr Thomas Bagger, Head of Policy Planning, German Foreign Office
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Dr Thomas Bagger, Head of Policy Planning, German Foreign Office, visited the VIF on February 24, 2016 for an interaction that ranged across a wide and varied geostrategic landscape, inter alia, the future of the European Union, German foreign policy challenges amidst the rise of China, Russia’s reassertion in world affairs, the situation in the Middle East, the ever growing refugee crisis facing Europe, and the potential for furthering bilateral cooperation between India and Germany. With General N.C Vij, Director, VIF leading the panel of Indian interlocutors, the panel that engaged the visiting German diplomat included, Vice Admiral (retd) KK Nayyar, Lt General (retd) R.K Sawhney, Amb TCA Rangachari, C D Sahay, Amb Tariq Karim, among others.

General N.C Vij started the proceedings by giving a brief overview of the existing close relations between India and Germany in the fields of trade and commerce, science and technology, education etc. He then invited the Dr Thomas Bagger to speak on “German Foreign Policy Challenges in the
21st Century”. Dr. Bagger, at the outset, emphasised that Germany’s relations with the world are shaped by the framework of European Union. The immediate challenges that Germany faces today includes the possibility of Britain’s exit from EU, Russia’s relations with Europe, Refugee crisis in Europe and the growing radicalism within Europe and the world over. He underlined the growing need for a rule-based system of global governance, especially in view of the fact that Germany’s interests range all over the world. Germany, by far, has been the most connected country in the world today, a clear winner of the globalisation process. Dr Bagger further told the gathering that while he sees no military threat emanating from China in so far as Germany is concerned, the evolving relations between the United States and China could pose a few difficult strategic choices before Germany.

The ensuing discussion broadly focused on Germany’s relations with Russia, possibilities of a strategic partnership between India and Germany and the German policies in West Asia, particularly related to Iran. On Russia, Dr Bagger stressed that isolating it is not a viable option for Germany. In West Asia, Germany hopes to reduce the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia but Dr Bagger did concede that Germany does not have significant leverage over the two. On the question of strategic relations with India, Dr Bagger argued that Germany is hesitant to establish such relations outside the framework of NATO and its focus is more on economic partnership, synergies for which already exist between India and Germany. He hoped for the speedy conclusion of negotiations for the FTA between India and EU. The interaction concluded with the Director appreciating the comprehensive and informative nature of discussion and thanked Dr Thomas Bagger and other members of his delegation for visiting the VIF.

Event Date 
February 24, 2016
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