New Delhi : Germany will continue with its development assistance to India despite the robust growth of its economy, German Ambassador to India Bernd Mutzelburg said here Thursday.
“A question being asked is why Germany should continue to give millions of euros as development assistance when the Indian economy is growing at a high rate of 9 percent,” the ambassador said.
“But my government feels the assistance is necessary to ensure that this growth becomes broad-based and reaches the rest of India also,” Mutzelburg told IANS, after signing a bilateral technical and economic cooperation pact India.
“For the world at large to achieve the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations, it is in India that the battle has to be mainly won. We feel the assistance being provided by Germany would help in realising the goals.”
The pact signed Thursday entails German assistance to the tune of $325 million with a focus on energy, even though they also included environment protection, sustainable use of natural resources and reforms in banking and finance.
Following the signing of the pact, the two sides also held their annual India-Germany Consultation Meeting where they deliberated on the extent of future assistance from Berlin as also the projects that could be funded by it.
“The bilateral development cooperation with the Federal Republic of Germany has been an example of excellent bilateral cooperation, innovation and alignment of India’s development priorities,” a finance ministry official 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. “This level of support will continue in the future,” the German ambassador said.