Academic exchange is an important pillar in the German-Indian Sustainability and Climate Change Dialogue. Conceived on practice-based needs, it serves to strengthen the scientific foundation for bilateral cooperation as well as joint higher education activities. Part of the scientific base is the joint analysis of problematic trends in Germany and India, ones that affect the transition to sustainability. Amongst them are their human drivers and social impacts; related to this - and of extreme importance - is the notion of governance for a transition to sustainable development. In order to tackle complex environmental problems, the ground needs to be paved for transdisciplinary communication across national borders, involving academia as well as non-academic experts from business and politics.