German Foreign Minister Westerwelle′s first visit to India | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 18.10.2010
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German Foreign Minister Westerwelle's first visit to India

India and Germany have given a new impetus to their joint efforts for expansion of the UN Security Council. Both countries also discussed ways to deepen their counter-terrorism cooperation.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle meets his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna

Guido Westerwelle meets his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna

Germany’s foreign minister Guido Westerwelle held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to deepen the economic and political partnership.

This is Westerwelle’s first visit to the country since he became the foreign minister nearly a year ago. In his opening remarks Westerwelle underlined India’s strategic importance.

Indo-German partnership

India and Germany have been elected to the UN Security Council for two years

India and Germany have been elected to the UN Security Council for two years

"India is clearly a country on the rise both in economic and political terms. A growth rate of 9 per cent next year but also its election to the security council of the United Nations with such an overwhelming result - all this speaks a clear and telling language, India is a country of the future," Westerwelle said.

Amitabh Mattoo, an Indian expert on international relations and diplomacy said his visit is important because Germany is a very important actor as far as India is concerned. "Germany is a leading member of the European Union. It is still a great economic power. And on several global issues, New Delhi and Berlin think alike," Mattoo explained. "Whether it is the fight against terrorism, whether it is on issues related to climate change, Germany and India are on the same page."

Bilateral trade

Germany is the eighth largest foreign investor in India, and during the talks, India is looking to tap German technology and manpower training expertise in a bid to achieve double digit economic growth.

Bilateral trade in 2009-10 stood at 13 billion euros despite the global recession and grew by 26 percent over the previous year in the first five months of 2010. Officials feel both sides are well on the way to achieve the target of 20 billion euros of bilateral trade by 2012.

More than just economic cooperation

The two countries recently agreed to set up a hotline at a high government level to resolve visa problems faced by business persons and skilled professionals. But Foreign Minister Westerwelle also spelt out that the relationship was more than just related to business.

"From our point of view it is more than an economic cooperation. It is a community of values that brings us together," he said, "And this is the most stable fundament that we can have in mutual relations. Our common interests for security, stability and our fight against terrorist attacks have the political support of the German government."

Westerwelle and Krishna sign a memorandum of understanding

Westerwelle and Krishna sign a memorandum of understanding

Non-proliferation and disarmament were among global issues that were discussed between both sides.

Year of Germany and Year of India

The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on celebrating a Year of Germany in India in 2011-12 and a Year of India in Germany in 2012-13 in the presence of the foreign ministers. The celebrations during these two years will mark 60 years of Indo-German diplomatic partnership.

Bearing the motto 'Infinite Opportunities - Germany and India 2011-12', the German year will be celebrated with a string of events across India that will showcase Berlin as 'an innovative, creative partner' for New Delhi.

Author: Murali Krishnan (New Delhi)

Editor: Thomas Baerthlein

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