German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on a two day visit to India, will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi today. The discussions between the two leaders will cover a wide range of issues including security and defence, with special focus on boosting trade ties.
Ms Merkel arrived in New Delhi on Sunday. This morning, after she received a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, she said Germany “fully intends to support the ambitious program that PM Modi has outlined for the development of this nation.”
“We will co-operate on areas such as economy, agriculture, internal security, defence matters and financial relations,” she added.
The two leaders are also scheduled to have a one-on-one meeting before top bosses-level talks. During her visit, Ms. Merkel will also meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj today before heading to Bangalore for a business conference.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the German Chancellor with a message on Twitter.
The talks between the two leaders will also aim at deepening bilateral engagement in education, renewable energy, skill development, science and technology, railways, water and waste management, urban development and agriculture.
This is Ms Merkel’s first visit to India since the Narendra Modi government came to power. The leaders met in April when PM Modi visited Germany, where he sought to draw more investment towards his “Make in India” campaign.
During her meeting with PM Modi, Ms. Merkel is expected to convey the concerns of German industries in proceeding with planned investments in India. Both leaders are also likely to exchange views on regional and global issues including climate change.
Germany is India’s most important trading partner in Europe and both PM Modi and Ms Merkel have said they are keen to boost two-way trade.
But for Germany, Europe’s largest economy, India last year ranked just 25th on the list of countries with which it does business.
The two nations exchanged nearly 16 billion euros ($17.9 billion) in trade in 2014 — mostly chemicals, machine tools, electrical goods and textiles — but the figure has declined in the past three years.