The Way Ahead for the Indo-German Dialogue on Standardisation


Nearly 90 experts from government, industry and standards bodies discussed current developments and priorities during the 2nd  Indo-German Standardisation Forum on 2 September 2021. The forum underlined the importance of the Indo-German dialogue in the field of standardisation and outlined a roadmap for the way ahead. Among others, topics related to the digital transformation as well as to the international harmonisation and technology-neutrality of standards were highlighted in the exchange.

Inaugural Session of the 2nd Indo-German Standardisation Forum © GIZ - GPQI

Standards provide a common language for trade. They play a crucial role in steering the development of innovation and new technologies. They also help in ensuring that the process of digital transformation is successful, secure and beneficial for all. With that, they play a crucial role in economic recovery and growth post the pandemic, as Gerhild Roth from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy pointed out in her opening remarks. Today, the close collaboration on standardisation within the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure is therefore more relevant than ever. This was underlined by Nidhi Khare from the Indian Department of Consumer Affairs as well as Dr Stephan Hesselmann from the German Embassy in Delhi.


The 2nd  Indo-German Standardisation Forum provided an interactive platform for exchange between government representatives, standards bodies and the industry. The participants discussed key developments in standardisation in India and Germany as well as topics and priorities for cooperation at bilateral and international level. The results of the discussions were summarised visually in a roadmap outlining the way ahead for the Indo-German Standardisation Dialogue in the next year.


Visualisation of the discussions at the 2nd Indo-German Standardisation Forum © GIZ - GPQI/Nitasha Nambiar

Roadmap: Priorities and Topics for Indo-German Cooperation

The representatives of the German and Indian standards bodies DIN (German Institute for Standardization), DKE (German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE) and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) highlighted numerous topics which they regard as timely and relevant for Indo-German cooperation. These include sectoral topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Industrie 4.0, circular economy, electromobility and medical devices. At the same time, also more overarching and strategic aspects were highlighted, such as jointly promoting the adoption of international standards. Both sides, for example, proposed to continue the collaboration on the application of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) Global Relevance Toolbox (GRT) in the coming months. The GRT allows for the inclusion of essential differences in national requirements, for example due to extreme climate conditions, in the annex of international standards.  


The industry representatives highlighted the need to be closely involved in the process of standardisation. Selected experts presented concrete challenges and opportunities for Indo-German trade and related opportunities for cooperation. Heiko Herden from the German Industry Association of Mechanical and Plant Engineering VDMA underlined the need for a global language for production. He highlighted the relevance of interoperable interfaces and associated standards in companies, such as OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture).


Christine Rümenapp from Siemens Healthineers provided an input on the relevance of technology-neutral standards for promoting trade and innovation. Thereby, she focused on the specific example of in vitro diagnostics. A live poll among the participants of the event showed that a technology-neutral design of standards is also of great concern to many other sectors.


Last but not least, Prof S K Sharma from BIS underlined the need for standardisation in the area of circular economy and outlined the scope for Indo-German cooperation in this field. A majority of the participants indicated that they regard unambiguous classification of materials for manufacturers and recyclers as the need of the hour with regard to circular economy standards.


Next steps and upcoming events

The inputs from the Standardisation Forum will be taken up in the new Work Plan and the activities of the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure in the upcoming months. The next technical exchange is focusing on the relevant topic of global production language in the context of Industry 4.0. It is organised jointly with VDMA and takes place on 22 September 2021.

Go back