Angela Merkel lands in India, with trade high on the agenda

4th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel landed in New Delhi late Sunday for a visit in which she is expected to push for closer trade ties, and during which India's leader hopes to draw investment from the European powerhouse.

Briefly leaving behind a refugee crisis in Europe, Merkel arrived with a delegation including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German business leaders for her first visit to India since the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party stormed to power last year.

"Namaste Chancellor Merkel! Warm welcome to you & the delegation. I look forward to fruitful discussions & strengthening India-Germany ties," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter.

She will meet with Modi, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday before she heads to the southern technology hub of Bangalore for a businness conference the next day.

Modi and Merkel will hold talks on "issues of mutual interest", including trade, defence and renewable energy, according to the Indian foreign ministry.

The two are likely to discuss resuming stalled India-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations -- a market-opening pact to boost bilateral commerce.

German investments in India stand at 9.7 billion euros with about 1,600 companies in the country.

Modi officially visited Germany in April when he sought to attract more industries to set up shop in Asia's third-largest economy for his flagship "Make in India" campaign and boost the manufacturing sector.

© 2015 AFP

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