India and Germany, Europe’s most powerful economy, have signed a landmark agreement to fast-track business approvals for German companies and 17 other agreements encompassing diverse areas ranging from renewable energy and skill development to manufacturing and civil aviation.
In another important agreement that will spur India’s transition to low-carbon economy, Germany will provide assistance of over one billion Euros for India’s Green Energy Corridor and a new assistance package of over a billion Euros for solar projects in India.
The agreements, which were signed after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in New Delhi on October 5, are set to imbue India-Germany partnership with greater economic weight and strategic heft.
The agreement on fast-track approvals is unique as it envisages a single point of contact for German companies doing business in India and cuts out needless red tape. The pact signals the importance India attaches to expanding economic ties with Germany and Berlin’s critical importance to the larger project of India’s national renewal.
Prime Minister Modi struck an upbeat note on the future trajectory of India-Germany relationship. “We can look forward with confidence to increased investment, trade and technology partnerships in manufacturing, infrastructure and skill development,” Mr Modi said at a joint media appearance with the German chancellor, who is on a three-day visit to India.
“Our partnership will also grow in areas like defence manufacturing, trade in advanced technology, intelligence, and countering terrorism and radicalism. These are important security dimensions of our expanding relationship,” the prime minister underlined.
Germany on its party came out strongly in support for India’s membership of the international export control regimes and pledged unstinting support to the Make in India project. India and Germany also reiterated their commitment to pursue the reform the United Nations Security Council as part of their G4 partnership
The green partnership, pivoted around upscaling the share of renewables in India’s overall energy partnership, will loom figure high in the India-Germany relations. This was reflected in the forging of the India-Germany Climate and Renewable Alliance with a long term vision and a comprehensive agenda of cooperation.
Speaking about climate change, Mr Modi insisted on a change of temperament to combat global warming. “We look forward to a concrete outcome at COP21 in Paris that strengthens the commitment and the ability of the world, especially of poor and vulnerable countries, to transition to a more sustainable growth path,” Mr Modi said.
Praising Ms Merkel’s leadership in Germany and Europe, Mr Modi said: “Chancellor Merkel, your leadership is a source of confidence and reassurance at a difficult moment for Europe and the world.” He also congratulated Germany on the 25th anniversary of German reunification.
There are around 1700 German companies operating in India, with a sizeable number of them based in India’s tech hub of Bengaluru. “German engineering and Indian IT skills can create the next generation industry that will be more efficient, economical and environment friendly”, Mr Modi said.
Looking ahead, one can expect a marked increase in German cooperation and assistance in areas like smart cities, Clean Ganga and waste management.
The two countries also signed an agreement on the promotion of German as a Foreign Language in India and the promotion of modern Indian languages in Germany.
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