Merkel visit: 18 MoUs inked, economy, security, languages in focus


New Delhi: India and Germany on Monday gave a major boost to their bilateral ties, especially in the economic field, by inking 18 MoUs, including one for setting up a fast-track system for German companies in India, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks here.

The range of MoUs, signed during Merkel visit, includes one on security cooperation, and another for promotion of German as a foreign language in India and for the promotion of Modern Indian languages in Germany.

Modi, in his speech, termed the bilateral mechanism of Inter-Governmental Consultation (IGC) as unique, saying it had helped bring growth in relations.

“We see Germany as a natural partner in achieving our vision of India’s economic transformation. German strengths and India’s priorities are aligned. And, so is our mutual goodwill,” he said, after holding the 3rd IGC with Merkel here.

He said both sides had convergence of views and rapidly growing cooperation in the field of clean energy and combating climate change.

Both agreed on the India-Germany Climate and Renewable Alliance for combating climate change, Modi said, and thanked Germany for its over one billion euro aid each for India’s Green Energy Corridor project and for solar projects in India.

“We look forward to a concrete outcome at COP21 (Conference of Parties) in Paris,” Modi said.

He said both sides will see a boost in partnership in areas of defence manufacturing, trade in advanced technology, intelligence, and countering terrorism and radicalism.

He thanked Germany for its strong support for India’s membership of the international export control regimes.

“As we discussed in the G4 Summit in New York, Chancellor and I are committed to pursue reforms of the United Nations, especially the Security Council,” Modi said.

He also thanked Merkel for the return of a 10th century statue of Durga in her Mahishasurmardini avatar from Jammu and Kashmir.

Modi said the statue is a symbol of the victory of good over evil.

He said: “This also suggests that in this age of transitions and turmoil, India-Germany partnership will be a force of good for the world.”

Merkel, in her media statement, said both sides held very good IGC and bilateral talks. She said the IGC mechanism has underscored the intensity of bilateral ties with India.

She said the inking of so many agreements is a “testimony to the dynamic relations”. She said more than 1,500 German companies are in India and more would be glad to open up in India. She commended the inking of the fast track agreement on German companies. “The speed at which you grant licences has increased, which is a good thing,” Merkel said.

She said Germany can help India in the area of sustainable development in the villages.

On expansion of the UN Security Council, Merkel referred to the meeting of the G4 countries of India, Germany, Japan and Brazil last week in New York and said the members of G4 are trying to seek permanent seat at the UNSC.

Both sides inked an agreement on security cooperation; an MoU on Solar Energy Partnership; for cooperation in the field of Skill Development and Vocational Education and Training; on Security Cooperation; railways and for cooperation in disaster management.