“It is not in Germany’s interest for India to remain dependent on arms supplies from Russia in the long term,” Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told DW in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. But such a decision is not up to Germany alone, Pistorius added. “It’s a problem that we have to solve together with our partners. But of course we can’t have any long-term interest in India being so dependent on Russia for arms and other materials.”
The German Defense Minister traveled to India this Monday from Indonesia. Countries like Indonesia and India could be part of a global coalition as “reliable partners” to “defend the rules-based order,” explained the minister. “We are ready to support our reliable partners like Indonesia and India. And that includes, for example, the delivery of submarines.”
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (left) and his Indonesian colleague Prabowo Subianto: Indonesia is also one of Germany’s “reliable partners”.
The minister added that he would be accompanied on his trip to India by representatives of the German armaments industry. At the same time, he emphasized that Germany was reluctant to supply weapons. “We have to find a balance between delivering arms to reliable partners on the one hand and controlling and limiting arms deliveries around the world on the other,” said the SPD politician. “Because we don’t need so many guns in the world anymore, we shouldn’t have too many guns in the world.”
Pistorius is on his first trip to Asia as Defense Minister. First stop was Singapore, where he took part in the Shangri-La Dialogue, a leading security conference in the region. “This region will shape the 21st century in terms of security policy, free shipping and the challenges in the international economy,” he continued in the interview with Deutsche Welle. “And that’s why this region is important not only for Germany, but for Europe as a whole.”
Pistorius at the Asian Security Forum Shangri-La Dialogue: This region will shape future international security policy and free shipping
Regarding security concerns regarding China, the German defense minister emphasized that a complete break with China, a so-called decoupling, is not the goal. But he added: “If we are serious about de-risking and not de-coupling and about becoming a serious and reliable partner in the region, then we must at least be willing to discuss how we support our partners in the region can, also in matters of defence.”
At the same time, he appealed to China and the USA to intensify their dialogue in order to reduce tensions. “Both sides should be keen to come back to the table to negotiate and keep in touch,” he said. “Otherwise the room for misunderstandings and the risk of escalation will only increase. Both of them know that and that’s why I’m pretty sure they will return to the negotiating table.”
Regarding the war in Ukraine, Pistorius stressed that Germany was against the use of German arms delivered to Ukraine on Russian soil. “I always emphasize that international law allows Ukraine to do that,” he said. “However, Germany – like the US for example – has always emphasized that we do not want our weapons to be used to destroy the Russian border to cross.” Pistorius said he was certain that Ukrainian commitments in this matter could be relied on.