India, Germany to up ties in trade, technology

India, Germany to up ties in trade, technology

Berlin: The leaders of India and Germany pledged Saturday to increase cooperation in trade, security and in pushing to increase the number of permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and chancellor Angela Merkel also praised Saturday’s agreement in Cancun, Mexico, and urged the world use it as a starting point for further progress in combatting climate change.

“Today in Cancun we took a good step forward," Merkel said. “There still is very, very much to do to reach a follow-on agreement to Kyoto, but today was an important day for climate protection, for continuing the UN negotiations and work must continue in the spirit in which the agreement was made."

Singh also urged the world to “continue to build on the progress that has been made at the Cancun congress on climate change," pledging that his nation would do its part to reach “a pragmatic and balanced solution" within the UN framework.

Increasing trade, especially in areas of high technology, was a key issue in bilateral talks, both leaders said.

Singh said the two countries are “hopeful of achieving bilateral trade worth €20 billion ($26 billion) by 2012," including in civilian nuclear technology. That would roughly double the current trade volume between them, which is euro13 billion.

But he called on Germany to relax its trade export laws, especially in the field of high technology.

Merkel insisted that trade is positive, but noted that the signing of a free trade agreement European Union in the coming months will allow for increased volumes between the two nations.

“For German interests, it is very important that this agreement be signed," Merkel said.

In 2011, it will be 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Germany and Merkel said she had accepted an invitation to visit India to mark the anniversary.