German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in India on a 3-day visit. She held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday afternoon. The talks discussed stepping up bilateral cooperation between the two countries, with special focus on trade and investment.
The two leaders had wide ranging talks that included defence manufacturing, trade, intelligence and clean energy. Both countries signed 18 MoUs for cooperation in various fields which also include higher education, civil aviation, railways and food safety.
“We see Germany as a natural partner in achieving our vision of India’s economic transformation. German strengths and India’s priorities are aligned…Our focus tends to be on economic ties. But, I believe that in a world of seamless challenges and opportunities, India and Germany can also be strong partners in advancing a more human, peaceful, just and sustainable future for the world,” PM Modi said.
Both leaders also exchanged views on issues of common concern such as climate change. Germany agreed on a package of over 1 billion euros for solar projects in India.
“We have agreed on India – German Climate and Renewable Alliance with a long term vision and a comprehensive agenda of cooperation. I place great value on Germany’s assistance of over one billion Euros for India’s Green Energy Corridor and a new assistance package of over a billion Euros for solar projects in India,” PM Modi announced.
“We can look forward with confidence to increased investment, trade and technology partnerships in manufacturing, infrastructure and skill development,” the PM added.
The two sides also announced setting up of a Fast-Track system for German companies in India.
In a joint statement after the meeting, PM also said that the two of them will continue their talks in Bengaluru.
The pacts signed included a Joint Declaration of Intent between HRD ministry and the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. India agreed to promote German as a foreign language in India and Germany will in return promote modern Indian languages in Germany.
In 2011, German was introduced as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalaya Schools after a MoU was signed between KVS and Goethe Institute in 2011. But in November 2014, the HRD ministry decided to discontinue teaching of German as an alternative to Sanskrit and cited “national interests” for its decision.
Merkel was unhappy with the removal of German, and had raised the issue with PM Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Brisbane in November last year.
Merkel arrived in India late on Sunday night along with a large delegation of several cabinet ministers and top officials. CEOs of top German companies have also accompanied her. Merkel received a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and has an action-packed schedule for the next three days.
She is scheduled to visit Bengaluru with PM Modi on October 6. In Bengaluru, both leaders will participate in a business event hosted by NASSCOM and Fraunhofer Institute and also hold a working lunch with high-ranking business leaders from India and Germany. The two leaders will also visit the innovation and skilling centres of the German company M/s Bosch.
Germany is India’s largest trading partner in European Union and the seventh largest foreign investor in India. The overall exchange of goods and services between the two countries was valued at 15.96 billion in 2014. In 2013, the figure stood at 16.10 billion euros. There are more than 1,600 Indo-German collaborations and around 600 Indo-German joint ventures currently in operation.
India and Germany are strategic partners since 2001 and Merkerl’s visit comes about 6 months after Modi’s tour of Germany.
(With inputs from PTI)