India, Germany ink 18 agreements

Tue 06 Oct 2015, 11:05:13

New Delhi: India and Germany inked 18 pacts on Monday to boost bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also assured German Chancellor Angela Merkel that New Delhi would return to negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) “as soon as possible”.

Modi, however, conveyed to Merkel New Delhi’s concerns over EU’s decision to impose a legally-binding ban on the sale of around 700 pharma products clinically tested by GVK Biosciences, India.

Most of the drugs were being sold across Europe for years with no adverse pharmaco-vigilance report from any members of the 28-nation bloc. The move prompted New Delhi to suspend negotiations with the EU for an FTA on August 5.

Modi also told the German chancellor that a fast-track mechanism for clearance of proposals by German companies for investments in India would be set up by March 2016.

Modi and Merkel chaired the third round of inter-governmental consultation, before witnessing signing of pacts, strengthening bilateral cooperation in development, solar energy, security, vocational education and training, disaster management, railways, agriculture, science and technology, manufacturing, food safety and higher education.

Merkel conveyed to Modi a new commitment to provide € 1.49 billion as assistance for development projects. She also conveyed Germany’s fresh pledge of € 400 million for the Green Energy Corridor project.

Berlin also agreed to support New Delhi with € 1 billion over the

next five years for meeting the renewable energy target under the umbrella of the bilateral Solar Partnership.

“Our 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,” said Modi, while addressing a joint press conference.

In the joint statement, Modi and Merkel underlined their “strong commitment to the EU-India Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement and committed to bring about a resumption of the negotiations as soon as possible”.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar later told journalists that while India agreed “to go forward with negotiations”, the prime minister urged the German chancellor to use her influence to revoke the ban.

“It is our hope that this matter would be looked at fairly and sensibly and hopefully would not be an impediment to the FTA,” said Jaishankar.

Merkel conveyed to Modi that German companies were keen to exploit opportunities in the railway sector, particularly in high-speed rail, station re-development, rolling stock manufacturing, logistics terminals and urged the private sector to explore early participation in this sector.

 They agreed that training managers, supervisors and instructors from railways could be another potential area of collaboration. Noting the intense cooperation in the automotive sector, Modi and Merkel agreed that the aviation industry offered new opportunities for investments.

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