New Delhi: German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed plans of boosting relations with India in the areas of business, science and politics.
Merkel, on her first visit to India, met with the country’s top leaders and said that soon an agreement in defense cooperation, science and technology and intellectual property rights would he signed.
Merkel told reporters after a ceremonial reception at India’s presidential palace that she hoped her visit would enhance “the very strong relationship between India and Germany,” and that the two nations would see increased cooperation in politics, economics and science.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responded by saying that India seeks the support of Germany “in our quest to get rid of poverty, ignorance and disease.”
He referred to Merkel as a great statesman and friend of the country. She and Singh inaugurated the “Science Express” train that will travel across India for a year highlighting the two countries’ cooperation in science and technology.
An Indo-German Science and Technology Research Centre will be created to facilitate cooperation in industrial and basic research, said India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna.
Merkel was to hold separate meetings with President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, and the leader of the opposition Lal Krishna Advani.
Among the topics likely to be discussed were terrorism, climate change and closer cooperation between the G-8 and leading developing nations like India. Germany currently holds the G-8 presidency.
Merkel was also scheduled to meet Indian business leaders over lunch. Accompanied by a 30-member delegation including the new chief of industrial conglomerate Siemens AG, Peter Loescher, and senior managers from chemical company BASF and the Deutsche Bahn railroad firm she said Germany was focused on China for a long time.
She will be visiting Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, where she will meet top Indian business leaders. Meanwhile, trade between Germany and India amounts to $15.1 billion annually, though India only ranks as the nation’s 29th most important trading partner.