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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, April 22, 2018

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India, Germany to expand dialogue on foreign policy and security

Development as mutually reinforcing

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Berlin, Apr. 14 (ANI): India and Germany have agreed to explore the expansion of dialogues on foreign policy and security, stating that they view each other's development as 'mutually reinforcing'.

In the joint statement released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, the two leaders stated that they exchanged views on upgrading and further strengthening our Strategic Partnership and view each other's development as mutually reinforcing and offering significant opportunities for expanding cooperation between the two countries.

The two leaders said that their common objective is to encourage greater synergies between German engineering, experience in sustainable development, innovation and skills, and the new opportunities available in India and through 'Make in India', 'Clean India', 'Digital India' and other initiatives towards achieving economic growth and sustainable development. India's participation as Partner Country at Hannover Messe 2015 is a welcome expression of our common desire to strengthen this cooperation.

The joint statement further said that Prime Minister Modi and Chancellor Merkel are exploring ways of expanding our dialogue on foreign policy and security issues and welcome the proposed visits of the Defence Minister of Germany to India and the External Affairs Minister of India to Germany before the Inter-Governmental Consultations. Taking the partnership into the future, the two leaders will also work together on meeting global challenges such as climate change, energy and food security.

Prime Minister Modi and Chancellor Merkel further said that they look forward to their third Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) in India in October 2015, adding that their strategic partnership is entering a new and more intensive phase. In order to strengthen this cooperation, the two leaders have agreed to encourage their respective ministries/departments to take proactive steps to advance collaboration in manufacturing, skill development, urban development, environment, railways, cleaning of rivers, renewable energy, education, language and science and technology.

The joint statement further elaborated on the sectors in which the two nations would collaborate:

The two countries will utilise the momentum generated by India's participation in the Hannover Messe to foster stronger ties between business and industry on both sides in order to support India's 'Make in India' initiative. Greater investments, a positive investment climate and technology partnerships are crucial for the success of India's 'Make in India' initiative

The two leaders have agreed to expand the existing Indo-German cooperation through new initiatives, including a road-map for enhancing employability of trainees and apprentices by strengthening industry involvement in skills development, as in the German dual system.

India and Germany will strengthen the bilateral cooperation through the establishment of a working group on urban development. Support development of urban planning and infrastructure in India, including (a) cooperation in the development of new areas of collaboration and mutual benefit in the development of smart cities in India; (b) Setting up peer-to-peer network of Municipalities for direct collaboration; and (c) Assistance in the area of affordable housing.

They will also strengthen the bilateral cooperation through the establishment of two working groups in the areas of water and waste management.

The two leaders agreed upon support for the modernization of the railway infrastructure including setting up of semi high-speed and high-speed railways and training and skill development of personnel in the rail sector starting with signalling and telecommunications and a high-speed rail system.

Following the completion of the Ganga Scoping Mission in October 2014 by Germany, the two countries have agreed to develop cooperation on Ganga River rejuvenation strategies, capacity support for urban sanitation, setting up of standards, approaches to industrial pollution and innovative financial models.

Germany has agreed to support India's proposed objective of 175GW of renewable energy by 2022 through technical and financial support for developing comprehensive solar rooftop and green energy corridor projects in India.

The two countries agreed to promote closer educational exchanges, including through setting up of an International Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, strengthening collaboration between universities in India and Germany through the Indo German Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education program, and enhancing the exchange of scientists between both countries, for example in the framework of India's GIAN initiative.

The two leaders agreed to support the respective programs and efforts in India and Germany to broaden knowledge of each other's languages among the youth in accordance with the national policy of each country.

Both countries declared their intent to promote closer research and development cooperation in science, technology and innovation, in particular through extending the tenure of the bi-national Indo-German Science and Technology Centre in India with appropriate resources, the cooperation arrangement between Ministry of Earth Sciences, India and Helmholtz Association, Germany for Institutional collaboration in the area of Earth Sciences, and understanding between National Council of Science Museums in India and Leibniz Association, Germany on closer cooperation in science communication.

In addition, the two leaders stated that they have agreed to strengthen efforts towards carrying on negotiations for an ambitious EU India Free Trade Agreement with a view to its early conclusion.

The joint statement also said that their discussions in Germany have established a robust road-map for expanding our multi-faceted and mutually beneficial ties. They also expressed confidence that this will receive a further boost during the visit of the Chancellor Merkel to India for the third Inter-Governmental Consultations in October.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi was accorded a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome given by Chancellor Merkel in the courtyard of the Federal Chancellery in Berlin.

The Prime Minister, who was in Germany on the second leg of his three-nation tour, has vowed to remove unnecessary regulations and procedures to simplify the process of foreign investment in India, as well as to make it easier for other countries to initiate business deals.

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