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India, Germany to cement ties during Modi-Merkel meet

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New Delhi: India and Germany would seek to give a fillip to their close ties when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet here on Monday, their second bilateral meeting after six months, during which trade, security and the India-EU trade agreement are expected to figure.

Merkel, who arrives here on Sunday night, is on an India visit October 4-6. She will be accompanied by a large delegation comprising cabinet ministers, and businesspersons, and will also be visiting Bengaluru.

The German leader, who met Modi at Hannover Messe in April, is coming here for the 3rd Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) between both countries.

Earlier, German Ambassador Martin Ney said the IGC were expected to lead to the inking of “substantial agreements”.

Ney said the German side would seek resolution of certain issues like “questions of corruption, questions of framework for investments, safety of taxation, Intellectual Property Rights” and legal redressal for “ease of doing business”.

“Industries say we need greater progress in order to implement these planned investments. The two leaders will address these issues definitely in a friendly manner,” the German envoy said earlier.

The two leaders are also expected to take up the India-European Union free trade agreement (FTA), which has been under negotiations for years.

The ministers accompanying Merkel are Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Food and Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, Education and Research Minister Johanna Wanka and Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Muller.

The focus of the IGC will be on economy, security, vocational training, science, technology, clean energy, climate and development cooperation. The signing of a plethora of agreements is envisaged. Furthermore, regional and global issues will be discussed, said a German embassy statement.

The IGC is a unique summit-level dialogue with cabinet participation of both governments to help advance the bilateral partnership across priority areas of mutual interest.

The 3rd IGC will seek to build on Modi’s visit to Germany in April 2015 to participate in the Hannover Messe where India was the partner country, said an external affairs ministry statement.

On Monday, she will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan, followed by a visit to Rajghat and official meetings between the two leaders and IGC between the two delegations.

Merkel will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee.

The German Chancellor’s visit to India comes even as reports say she is emerging as a top favourite for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, for her handling of the European refugee crisis, and for her peace efforts over Ukraine. The winner of the prestigious award will be announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee next Friday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will meet her German counterpart Frank Walter Steinmeir and also call on the chancellor.

Modi and Merkel will hold talks on a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including deepening bilateral engagement in defence, security, education, renewable energy, high technology manufacturing, skill development, science and technology, railways, water and waste management, urban development and agriculture.

They will also exchange views on regional and global issues of common concern.

While the two leaders hold talks, the ministers and other delegation members will hold meetings with their respective counterparts.

After the bilateral talks, the plenary session as the core format of the IGC will take place.

Merkel and Modi will close the consultations with a joint press statement and the exchange of signed agreements.

The two leaders will visit Bengaluru on October 6, where both will participate in a business event hosted by NASSCOM on Industry 4.0 and also visit the innovation and skilling centres at German company Bosch.

The two leaders will also attend a working lunch with high-ranking business leaders from India and Germany.

India and Germany are strategic partners since 2001. Germany is India’s largest trading partner in the European Union and the seventh largest foreign investor in India.

Germany’s competencies in manufacturing, high technology, clean energy, water and waste management etc provide a robust foundation for enhanced partnerships in a range of priority areas.

This visit would be an opportunity to consolidate stronger strategic, political and economic partnership between India and Germany, said the official statement.

IANS