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Modi, Merkel talk ways to boost trade, 18 MoUs inked

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to enhance ties in key areas of defence manufacturing, trade, intelligence and clean energy

Narendra Modi

NEW DELHI, October 5: India and Germany today agreed to enhance ties in key areas of defence manufacturing, trade, intelligence and clean energy during wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel here after which 18 MoUs were inked. Describing the talks as "very good", both the leaders expressed hope that their discussions will pave the way for more robust partnership between the two countries in strategic areas. "We see Germany as a natural partner in achieving our vision of India's economic transformation. German strengths and India's priorities are aligned. "Our focus tends to be on economic ties. But, I believe that in a world of seamless challenges and opportunities, India and Germany can also be strong partners in advancing a more human, peaceful, just and sustainable future for the world," Modi said. The Prime Minister also mentioned that he will continue his discussions with Merkel in Bangalore, where both the leaders will be attending a business forum. Modi noted that the partnership will also grow in "areas like defence manufacturing, trade in advanced technology, intelligence, and countering terrorism and radicalism. These are important security dimensions of our expanding relationship." The pacts signed included Joint Declaration of Intent between HRD ministry and the Federal Foreign Office of Germany regarding the Promotion of German as a Foreign Language in India and the Promotion of Modern Indian Languages in Germany. The inking of the pact comes as both sides were working to resolve the contentious issue of Sanskrit replacing German as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalaya Schools, a decision which was criticised by Germany with Merkel raising the issue during her meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Brisbane in November last year. The two sides also announced setting up a Fast-Track system for German companies in India. Germany has agreed on a package of over a billion Euros for solar projects in India. Modi said India considers Germany as a natural partner in its of economic transformation, adding the mechanism of Inter- Governmental Consultation is unique and that it has brought about all round growth in the bilateral ties. Expressing happiness over broad range of outcomes, the Prime Minister said, "We can look forward with confidence to increased investment, trade and technology partnerships in manufacturing, infrastructure and skill development." He said German engineering and Indian IT skills can create the next generation industry that will be more efficient, economical and environment friendly. "1600 German companies in India, and growing in number, will be strong partners in creating a global work force in India," he said adding German cooperation and assistance in areas like smart cities, clean Ganga and waste management projects have taken a concrete shape. In her comments, Merkel expressed satisfaction over outcome of the talks and complimented Modi for the "speed" in which he is pushing various initiatives. She also listed various initiatives by the two countries including in the fields of defence, security, trade and investment and solar energy. Complimenting Germany for its leadership in clean energy and commitment to combating climate change, Modi said it is an area where both countries have convergence of views, and rapidly growing cooperation. "We have agreed on India - German Climate and Renewable Alliance with a long term vision and a comprehensive agenda of cooperation.I place great value on Germany's assistance of over one billion Euros for India's Green Energy Corridor and a new assistance package of over a billion Euros for solar projects in India," he said. The Prime Minister said India was looking forward to a concrete outcome at climate change conference in Paris that strengthens the commitment and the ability of the world, especially of poor and vulnerable countries, to transition to a more sustainable growth path.