German Chancellor Angela Merkel brought her trip to India to a close on Saturday with a pledge for German investment of €1 billion ($1.12 million) into new green mobility projects under a German-Indian partnership.
“We need a fresh attempt at a European-Indian free trade agreement,” Merkel said on Saturday at an event at the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi.
The chancellor’s talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on trade, investment, regional security and climate change.
Under the plans, Germany will invest in a number of environmentally friendly policies, such as more than 500 electric buses to replace diesel-powered ones in urban areas in India. This project will be carried out over the course of the next five years.
Merkel is also scheduled to visit an Indian factory of German automotive company Continental on Saturday.
German ‘recruitment’ of Indian skilled workers
Although more than 1,700 German companies operate in India, German entrepreneurs have often been hesitant to invest large amounts of money in the world’s second-most populous country.
Merkel also plans to simplify the recruitment process of Indian skilled workers who wish to come to work in Germany. The chancellor also called for more cooperation in digitalization, innovation, health and agriculture.
“Our proposal is that the foreign trade chambers are the starting point in the recruitment process,” she told the chamber of commerce.
A previous free-trade agreement, which was initiated between India and the EU in 2007, fell apart in 2012. Germany is still India’s most important trading partner within the European Union.
The talks are the fifth in a series of biennial bilateral summit between Germany and India. The German delegation also included Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner.
ed/sms (Reuters, dpa)