German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit India from March 22 to 25 to strengthen bilateral ties. This will be his first visit to India as the President of Germany after the Angela Merkel government took charge in Berlin on March 14.
A statement issued by the German Embassy said: “The German Head of State will talk with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and other high-ranking politicians, such as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.” Steinmeier will also hold talks with representatives of Indian civil society, science and industry, the statement said.
During the visit, Steinmeier will be accompanied by a CEO delegation, Indologists and a media delegation. He will be officially welcomed by President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife in New Delhi. Apart from Delhi, Steinmeier will also visit Varanasi and Chennai.
“India’s relationship with Germany is amongst our foremost relations, bilaterally and in global context. After having established Strategic Partnership since 2000, successive governments on the two sides have endeavoured to broaden and deepen this relationship. This has found expression in having biennial Summit level Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC), which Germany has with select countries only,” a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said.
According to the MEA statement, India’s current priorities in most areas match with German expertise, such as renewable energy, skills development, Smart City, water and waste management, cleaning of rivers, railways, etc. These could be synergised for tangible, result-oriented outcomes, it said.
Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe and the sixth largest trading partner in the world, while India was ranked 24th in Germany’s global trade. In 2016-17, the bilateral trade turnover was US$ 18.76 billion. In 2016-17, India exported goods worth US$ 7.18 billion to Germany and imported goods worth US$ 11.58 billion. Germany is the seventh largest foreign direct investor in India. Cumulative German FDI in India from April 2000 to December 2017 is $10.71 billion or 2.91per cent of total FDI.
There are over 15,000 Indian students in Germany and around 800 German students are doing their internship or studying in India (2017). The number of Indian nationals in Germany is 108,000 (German Ministry of Interior, 2017) and the number of PIOs in Germany is about 73,000, mainly comprising of technocrats, small businessmen/traders and nurses.