NEW DELHI — India and Germany agreed on Friday to enhance cooperation in tackling climate change, cybersecurity, skill development, artificial intelligence, energy security, civil aviation and defense production. The two countries signed several agreements, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying India is eager to benefit from Germany’s expertise.
Modi said he also hopes to work together in fighting global terrorism and extremism. He did not give any details. Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would like to collaborate with India in infrastructure projects, waste management and water supply.
Merkel has been accompanied by several ministers and state secretaries as well as a business delegation. She told journalists accompanying her that Germany wanted a de-escalation and an easing of tensions in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where New Delhi imposed a security clampdown after removing its semi-autonomous status and beginning direct federal rule of the disputed area.
“In particular, we want India and Pakistan to find a peaceful solution together,” Merkel said. “I still want to listen first to the prime minister’s arguments today too. But the situation for the people there at the moment isn’t sustainable or good.”
A joint statement issued after the talks between Modi and Merkel underscored the importance of building a digital partnership as part of the collaboration on next-generation technologies.
Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe. Bilateral trade reached $21.9 billion in the 2017-18 fiscal year, an increase of 17% from the previous year. German investments in India are mainly in transportation, electrical equipment, metallurgical industries, services, chemicals, construction, trading and automobiles. More than 70 Indian companies are operating in Germany in fields such as information technology, automotive, medicines and biotech, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry.
On Saturday, Merkel is set to visit an Indo-German auto parts manufacturing facility in a New Delhi suburb and a metro station before departing.