Germany is a valued friend: Modi to Merkel
On his return journey from the BRICS summit in Brazil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his brief stopover in Frankfurt to telephone German Chancellor Angela Merkel, congratulate her for her 60th birthday and Germany’s FIFA win, and to exchange invitations for a bilateral summit next year. While Ms. Merkel invited Mr. Modi to visit and for India to partner in the Hanover Trade fair in April 2015, Mr. Modi formally invited Ms. Merkel to the Inter-Governmental Consultations between India and Germany in Delhi in 2015, which she accepted.
In a tweet, shortly after the phone call, Mr. Modi wrote “Germany is India’s valued friend & I look forward to working with Chancellor Merkel to make India’s relations with Germany stronger.”
PM Modi was unable to meet with Ms. Merkel for dinner as planned on his stopover in Germany earlier this week, as she had left for Brazil for the FIFA world cup final that Germany won. Their destinations in Brazil were also far apart, with Mr. Modi travelling to Fortaleza and Brasilia for the BRICS summit, while Ms. Merkel was in Rio de Janeiro. When they do meet, diplomatic sources tell The Hindu, the German government is keen to award PM Modi the Federal Cross,its highest honour for a Head of State. Chancellor Merkel was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by India in 2009.
The two leaders however, promised to meet at an early date, said officials. They also discussed areas of bilateral cooperation and “skill development”, a theme Mr. Modi has focussed on, and had created a special ministry for Entrepreneurship and Skill Development in June this year. Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe, although the trade has declined in the past few years. Indian exports declined by over 7% to € 7 billion and imports shrunk by over 4% to €10.4 billion in 2013. Germany also continues to hope for a larger piece of India’s defence purchases, a hope that has brought senior leaders from the US, UK, and France to New Delhi in the past month.