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Germany, India to form working group for IT cooperation


New Delhi : India and Germany plan to form a working group to expand bilateral cooperation in the field of information technology (IT).

“We have discussed the possibility of setting up a working group for cooperation in the IT sector. This group can look at areas like e-learning and e-medicine, among other things,” said German Vice Chancellor Philip Rosler, who met IT Minister Kapil Sibal here.

Rosler, who is also in-charge of economy and technology in the German federal government, said both sides have also discussed the possibility of cooperation in urban planning, and furthering bilateral trade.

“We currently have good volumes in the bilateral trade which needs to expand further. We also need to look at how to make it (trade) more sustainable,” Rosler said. He was in India to participate in the 13th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business which was held in Gurgaon Nov 1-3.

Indo-German trade is expected to touch 20 billion euros ($26.16 billion) by the end of 2012, despite the ongoing euro-zone crises during this year. The trade between the two countries stood at $23.56 billion in 2011.

Major German automobile manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen Group are currently present in India. Apart from automobiles, technology company Siemens, Bosch and airline major Lufthansa, a large number of German companies are present in the Indian market.

In 2011, India exported $8.25 billion to Germany and imported $15.31 billion. Germany is the eighth largest foreign direct investor in India, where the current FDI from the European country is around $4.9 billion. The FDI flow from India to Germany stood at $5.9 billion in 2011.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Ambassador to India Michael Steiner said achieving the trade target would also have a positive impact on the negotiations surrounding the free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU).

“This will prove that we have a successful partnership here and that so much more can be achieved if an FTA is agreed upon. India in recent months has shown that it is on the move with reforms, and that is a positive sign,” Steiner added.