PM Modi lauds Merkel for excellent EU leadership; Trump lambasts Germany
Berlin: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lauded German Chancellor Angela Merkel for playing the role of a leader in keeping the European Union united when economic grouping looked to be in strain following United Kingdom's exit from EU and the protectionist stance opted by United States President Donald Trump.
Modi has visited Germany in less than a week after Merkel gave a strong indication that the EU and the US under President Trump were heading towards a split. Merkel had said that reliable ties established after the end of World War II "are to some extent over".
Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel backed her statement and lambasted the US, saying the Trump administration's "short-sighted policies stand against the interest of the European Union". The Indian PM, however, has claimed that India would make its best efforts in boosting unity in the grouping.
Modi has publically jumped in support of Merkel when she is fighting with secessionist tendencies within the bloc following Britain's decision to leave the 28-member grouping through a referendum in June 2016.
PM Modi backed Merkel saying she is a strong leader and claimed that the world needs an EU-focused vision. He also batted for the need of a global order based democracy for establishing an interconnected and interdependent world.
"EU unity, pro-activeness and strong relations with other countries are extremely important for global development. We want the EU to become stronger and India will play a positive role towards that through the medium of Germany," he told reporters at a joint briefing with Merkel, who hosts Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
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In response to a question, Modi claimed that India and Germany were "made for each other". He said the two countries share the values of innovation and democracy and these values were "a blessing for mankind".
He further elaborated the synergy between German capabilities and Indian requirements.
Merkel's hint of apparent split with the US came after G7 and NATO summits, where according to news reports, not all was well between her and Trump, who is leading the US towards a more protectionist stance on economic issues and has called for NATO to pay for their share of expenditure of the Atlantic military alliance.
"Europe and the world are facing lots of challenges and to fight those, India believes, the world needs the strong leadership of Chancellor Merkel," Modi said.
Merkel said that Europe must "take our fate into our own hands" and added that it should step up as a diplomatic player on the international stage.
"The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days," she repeated today. "Others," in this statement apparently is about the US.
Soon after Merkel's remark, Trump criticised Germany over trade imbalance.