The German Embassy in New Delhi has a staff of 180, including 70 German nationals. Many German ministries have their own policy officers there, representing areas such as economic affairs, fiscal policy, transport, agriculture, labour and social affairs, economic cooperation, culture, environmental policy, the Federal Police, military affairs and the Federal Criminal Police Office.
Our Financial Counsellor Wolfgang Horning regularly provides us with up-to-date information on India’s fiscal and economic policy as well as on general policy issues, giving us an excellent overview of the current situation on the Indian subcontinent. Thanks to the country’s geographical size, its 1.3 billion-strong population, its rapid economic growth and the structural reforms implemented by its government, India is expected to become the world’s third-largest economy after China and the U.S. in a few years. Foreign investment has increased sharply, and the IMF recently noted that India now accounts for nearly 15% of global growth. Some of the key issues that Germany’s Financial Counsellor deals with include tax and fiscal policy, monetary and financial market policy as well as corruption and money laundering.
Impressions of New Delhi
Interview with Wolfgang Hornig
I am the first Financial Counsellor at the embassy. My predecessors were based at the Consulate General in Mumbai. In India, more than elsewhere, direct contacts are essential. That is why it is important to reach out to Indian colleagues at ministries and think tanks, but also at other embassies and international institutions, for example the offices of the IMF, the World Bank and, of course, the EU Delegation. The latter is particularly important, and I am in frequent contact with my colleagues there.
At the beginning, I had to knock on doors until I had established my most valuable contacts. My working day begins at eight o’clock every morning. We are four hours ahead of German time, so it is still night time there. We start with a brief review of the press. Three times a week, there is a briefing with the Ambassador. And of course I have to go through my many e-mails. I have to separate the wheat from the chaff – I work on a wide range of different topics, and these change quickly. I also need to keep an eye on the work of the colleague for whom I sometimes stand in. The embassy hosts many events related to economic affairs, and we also receive numerous invitations from Indian organisers of conferences and information events. India is in the midst of a transition – it is undergoing great modernisation and transformation. But my personal life also requires constant organisation, and this is not as straightforward as it is in Germany. Life in India proceeds at a different pace; people have a different mentality.