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PM Narendra Modi arrives in Germany on the first leg of his four-nation tour

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Berlin on the first leg of his six-day, four-nation tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France aimed at boosting bilateral economic engagement with them and inviting more investment for India’s transformation.

His Germany visit, which he described as a “new chapter” in bilateral relations, will begin with a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel at her country retreat of Schloss Meseberg.

Both leaders will discuss issues of mutual interest in an informal setting over dinner at the 18th-century palace, nearly 80 km northwest of Berlin.

“I am confident that this visit will open a new chapter in our bilateral cooperation with Germany and further deepen our strategic partnership,” Modi said in a Facebook post ahead of his visit.

Modi said he and Merkel will “chart out a future roadmap of cooperation with focus on trade and investment, security and counter-terrorism, innovation and science and technology, skill development, urban infrastructure, railways and civil aviation, clean energy, development cooperation, health and alternative medicine”.

Describing Germany as a valuable partner, the prime minister said, “German competencies fit well with my vision for India’s transformation”.

The more formal part of the visit will begin tomorrow when Modi is welcomed with military honors at the Chancellery, following which he will hold talks with Merkel as part of the fourth round of the bi-annual India-Germany Intergovernmental Consultations [IGC]. The last IGC was held in New Delhi in October 2015 when bilateral ties were significantly scaled up.

In Berlin, the two leaders are expected to clinch a host of agreements and are likely to deliberate on several pressing global issues, including the situation in the South China Sea, China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative and the growing threat of terrorism.

Prime Minister Modi and Chancellor Merkel will have a luncheon meeting with senior business leaders before inaugurating the Indo-German Business Forum on Tuesday.

The deadlocked Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) is likely to take centre-stage at this meeting, with Germany-based CEOs keen to push for a further opening up of the Indian market.

 

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