India, Germany to 'shape the future' with trade and technology

Berlin, April 12 (IANS) India and Germany have agreed to deepen their strategic partnership and "shape the future", focusing on closer trade and investment, partnering in high technology and cooperating in multilateral fora.

"Both governments will strongly back a further intensification of Indo-German business cooperation. Both sides would encourage cooperation in the field of rare earths on mutually beneficial terms," said a joint statement released at the end of the inter-governmental consultations co-chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chancellor Angela Merkel here.

The statement stressed that close trade and investment relations were a core dimension of bilateral partnership and held great importance for the development of the Indian and German economy.

The two countries agreed to facilitate the freedom of movement for business visitors and professionals.

The statement said that new initiatives in the area of energy, environment, culture, education and defence could "catalyse and activate" the great potential of bilateral relations.

Both nations recognised that expanding high technology trade and cooperation was key to deepening the strategic content of their relations.

"Both sides agree to consult regularly on advancing this objective and to this end form a High Technology Partnership Group, including both government and business," the statement, titled "shaping the future together", said.

In a separate statement to the media after the talks, the prime minister said, "We look forward to expanded defence cooperation anchored in technology transfer, co-development and co-production in India. High technology commerce would benefit from further easing of German export controls for India.

"The agreement today on scientific collaboration on technologies for civilian security adds a new dimension to our growing security cooperation. I am very happy that, following our discussion, we have agreed to set up a High Technology Partnership Group."

He said economic ties had been a defining feature of the India-German relationship and sought increased German participation in India's economic growth and its plans to modernize and upgrade our manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.

"I also sought continuing openness and support to growing Indian presence in Germany, including in the services sector. We agreed on the importance of an early conclusion of a balanced India-EU Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement."

The two sides agreed that the persisting weakness in the global economy required concerted global response to stimulate recovery without adding to fiscal and financial risks.

On international security, both sides agreed to intensify their security policy dialogue and called for expanding the United Nations Security Council.

"We also emphasised the importance of sustained international support to Afghanistan through its transition to a stable, peaceful and democratic future. We called for an end to violence in Syria and a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue. We underlined our shared interest in peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region, including on the Korean peninsula."

At the closing ceremony of the Days of India in Germany, the prime minister said today's is a world of "inter-dependent prosperity and shared vulnerability" and that India has a stake in Europe's economic recovery, its growth.

"This is a world not of declining and rising powers, but of broadening opportunities and more widespread hope. This is an age when change is rapid, but transformation can also be quick. This is an age that calls us to connect, to engage and to embrace each other," said he.

-- Indo-Asian News Service

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