India, Germany to sign pact to push economic ties


New Delhi : India and Germany will sign a pact Thursday to enhance technical and financial cooperation, essentially in infrastructure, even as they discuss new projects to be funded by Berlin this year.

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The talks to push economic ties will be held under the aegis of the annual Indo-Germany Consultation Meeting here where the two sides are proposed to tie up the committed German assistance to India worth $325 million, officials said.

The meeting, the officials said, comes in the backdrop of two-way trade between the two countries crossing the $10 billion mark in 2006, four years ahead of target.

German Ambassador to India Bernd Mutzelburg will lead his country’s side at the talks, while Kumar Sanjay Krishna, joint secretary in the finance ministry, will head the Indian delegation.

The two sides identified the priority areas for cooperation in 2005 with a focus on energy, though they also included environment protection, sustainable use of natural resources and economic reforms in banking and finance.

“The bilateral development cooperation with the Federal Republic of Germany has been an example of excellent bilateral cooperation, innovation and alignment of development priorities,” a finance ministry statement said.

“The German experience of efficient management of their natural resources is an important source of technical assistance for India under the natural resources management umbrella project launched in 2005.”

Historically, the cooperation started with German support to the Rourkela Steel Plant in 1958 and now covers a variety of areas such as health, infrastructure, rural development, consumer protection, environment and small industries.

In the 1990s, annual commitments by Germany were in the range of $80-100 million and were enhanced to $475 million in 2005 and $325 million in 2006.