The emergence of Germany in 21st century as one of the most developed economies in the world is a testimony to the strength of German culture and the resilience of its people. Germany is not only playing a vital role within the EU, but also a constructive role at the global level.
Pakistan and Germany enjoy a deep rooted tradition of cordial and cooperative ties. We greatly value our relations with Germany; and are keen to sustain and strengthen a multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation. Both countries remain deeply engaged on political, economic, and socio-cultural levels to strengthen this partnership.
The depth of Pakistan Germany relation can be seen in the continuing exchange of high level visits such as the visit of the President of the German Bundestag to Pakistan last year, and the visit of Prime Minister of Pakistanto Germany in November 2014.
Pakistan and Germany also enjoy substantial economic and trade relations. Germany is Pakistan’s fourth largest trading partner globally; and the largest within the European Union. Germany is also an important investment partner. Pakistan’s liberalized trade and investment approach, as manifested in Pakistan’s Strategic Trade Policy Framework (SPTF) 2015-18 and Investment policy 2013, has generated yet greater interest among German companies.
Recent establishment of German Pakistan Trade and Investment (GPTI) and joint German-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) in Pakistan and GATE Pakistan in Germany are also indicators of the growing desire among German and Pakistani companies for fostering greater bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
We also value the German engagement in Pakistan’s socio-economic development through its Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), KfW Development Bank.
Academic exchange is another important facet of bilateral relations. Well established and effective academic exchange is the result of longstanding partnership among German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan. Germany has emerged as one of the leading destinations for Pakistani students. Resultantly, the number of Pakistani students in Germany has increased from around 2000 in 2014 to 3600 in 2016.
Being posted to Germany as Pakistan’s envoy since January 2016, I have focused on enhancing bilateral contacts, promoting greater economic interaction and encouraging cultural exchanges. Just the last nine months have witnessed the visits of Speaker National Assembly, Defence Minister, Finance Minister, Chief of Army Staff, Senate Defence Committee, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan, Foreign Secretary and various Parliamentary delegations from Pakistan to Germany.
Large business delegations from Pakistan also visited Germany during this period, while two business/investment conferences were organized in Munich and Frankfurt – the leading German trade and industry hubs. I also undertook a number of visits to different German states to meet the political and business leaders.
Pakistan and Germany enjoy a deep rooted tradition of cordial and cooperative ties. We greatly value our relations with Germany; and are keen to sustain and strengthen a multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation. Both countries remain deeply engaged on political, economic, and socio-cultural levels to strengthen this partnership. The depth of Pakistan Germany relation can be seen in the continuing exchange of high level visits such as the visit of the President of the German Bundestag to Pakistan last year, and the visit of Prime Minister of Pakistan to Germany in November 2014.
The scope of bilateral engagements is defined by the “Roadmap for Strategic Dialogue”, which was signed and launched by the Foreign Ministers of two countries in September 2012. So far, three rounds of strategic dialogue have taken place. The third round was held last month in Berlin where both sides held detailed discussions on issues of mutual interest, including economic cooperation, defence, trade, investment, culture, education, security and strategic stability.
In terms of public diplomacy several lectures at the leading German universities and think tanks were delivered to present our view point on regional and world issues. Special emphasis was laid on cultural and education exchanges.
We also organized an unprecedented number of cultural events, including a grand fashion extravaganza which showcased Pakistan’s textile and fashion prowess in a fascinating manner. A number of initiatives were also undertaken to project the true picture of Pakistan’s society and promote education exchanges.
I am glad to note that the heightened bilateral engagement between Pakistan and Germany in all areas points to a positive and upward trajectory. I see an ever brighter future for our longstanding friendship.
Writer is a Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany.