India and Germany are set to ink a series of agreements to further deepen ties in key areas of trade, investment and energy, besides exploring ways to step up defence cooperation during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Berlin beginning Monday. In their talks, Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are also likely to deliberate on a number of pressing global issues including the situation in South China Sea, China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative and the growing threat of terrorism, German envoy Martin Ney said today.
He said there will be a series of “substantial” MoUs and joint declarations to ramp up cooperation in a wide-range of ares, adding the fourth Indo-German inter-governmental consultations, to be co-chaired by Modi and Merkel, will be a milestone in bilateral ties. Identifying terrorism as a major challenge, Ney said Germany stands side by side with India in fighting the menace and noted that his country has been sharing intelligence with the Indian government.
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On defence cooperation, he said Germany is ready to conclude a government-to-government agreement with India in defence procurement, adding it will be discussed by the two sides. “India is a strategic partner for Germany. Of course, we have our export control regimes and they will continue to govern our dealings in export.
“India is a strategic partner and providing stability in Asia and there is no reason why G-to-G approach should not make further progress,” he said, while referring to Germany’s defence products.
He said the Prime Minister will be in Berlin in the afternoon of May 29 and will have a bilateral dinner meeting with Chancellor Merkel in an “extremely light set up”. German ministers will also hold separate bilateral meetings with their Indian counterparts.
On May 30, Modi will be officially welcomed with military honours which will be followed by a plenary session where all matters of importance will be deliberated upon. It will be followed by signing of MoUs.
Modi and Merkel will also have a luncheon meeting with business tycoons after which the Prime Minister will inaugurate the Indo-German business forum. Modi will be recieved by the German President before he departs for Spain.
In their talks, the issue of India’s NSG bid is also likely to figure, with Ney asserting that Germany supports New Delhi accession to different export control regimes including the NSG, Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Replying to a question on Kashmir, he said it is a domestic issue.
Ney said education, vocational training, renewable energy and railways are the other sectors where both sides are likely to ramp up engagement.
He said Germany is aware of India’s efforts to ensure ease of doing business and promotion of trade and investment is a priority area. Ney said German companies have invested a whopping Rs 53,000 crore in India since 2010.
The volume last year was Rs 8,121 crore. A total of 1,800 German companies are operating in India.
Referring to South China Sea dispute, he said both India and Germany are striving for rules based international order and that both countries are for freedom of navigation in international waters.
He said safety of sea lanes is “very central” for free trade and growth of economies and added that security and stability in the Indian Ocean region was very important.
“Germany is highly interested in Indian Ocean Region,” he said.
On Afghanistan, he said, Germany is with India in ensuring stability in the war-ravaged country. He also said both India and Germany have been striving for reforms in the UNSC.