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Smart cities, clean energy, defence to top priorities during Angela Merkel India visit

German chancellor to meet PM today under India, Germany intergovernmental consultations framework.

Written by Shruti Srivastava | New Delhi | Updated: October 5, 2015 10:07:40 am
german chancellor, german chancellor visit to india, german chancellor PM modi, angela merkel, angela merkel visit to india PM Narendra Modi with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Enhanced investment in smart cities and high-speed trains, partnering with Germany’s medium and small enterprises, and co-operation in the clean energy and defence sectors are among the top priorities of New Delhi when German chancellor Angela Merkel meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

Merkel, who is on a three-day visit to the capital and Bengaluru beginning Sunday, will meet Modi under the framework of the Indo-German Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC), the third such meeting between the two governments. The earlier two meetings took place in 2011 in India and 2013 in Germany.

As such, this will be the third meeting between the two leaders this year. Last week in New York, Modi had met Merkel on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session while he had visited Germany in April.

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“We are looking at investment in smart cities and projects of high-speed trains and want the experience of Germany in the medium and small enterprises which has been going on for the last six month. The interest shown in the Hannover Messe is likely to get translated to investments on the ground,” a senior official told The Indian Express while he indicated that India may respond to overtures of the EU on reviving the talks of the proposed free trade agreement between the two.

Earlier, German ambassador Martin Ney had said that India has signalled its intention to revive talks on a free trade agreement with the EU that was deferred by New Delhi following the EU ban on import of 700 Indian generic drugs over alleged manipulation of clinical trials.

Ney had said that resumption of discussions would be a key issue on the table for talks during Merkel’s visit. The discussions on India-EU free trade agreement have been on since 2007 and the 14th round was held in May 2013. Despite the intense negotiations, contentious issues including lack of access for Indian professionals to the EU’s labour market and high taxes imposed on wines and cars from EU have thwarted efforts to seal the deal.

“India can learn a lot from Germany’s experience of MSME and we have already been in talks for some time now. Security, climate, clean energy and food security are also on our priority list,” the official added.

The bilateral trade between India and Germany declined to $20.32 billion in 2014-15 compared to $20.44 billion in 2013-14. India has received $8.19 billion FDI from Germany during April 2000 and June 2015.

Merkel is accompanied by federal ministers of foreign affairs, education and research, economic cooperation and development, and food and agriculture. According to a statement from German embassy, the country will focus on economy, security, vocational training, science, technology, clean energies, climate and development cooperation. “The signing of a plethora of agreements is envisaged. Furthermore, regional and global issues will be discussed,” the statement said.

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