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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Angela Merkel picks Narendra Modi over Cup final

Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 03, 2014
First Published: 00:26 IST(3/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:06 IST(3/7/2014)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s invitation for a two-day visit to Germany on way to Brazil for the annual Brics summit that opens July 15, HT has learnt.
 
To meet Modi, who will be in Berlin from July 12, Merkel has virtually forgone a chance to see her country, if it qualifies, play for football’s biggest prize -- the World Cup on July 13 (early July 14 India time). Germany take on France on July 4 in the first quarter final.
 
With annual bilateral trade in excess of 18 billion euros ( Rs. 1,46,700 crore), Germany is India’s biggest trading partner in Europe. The two countries have been working together in pharmaceutical, automobile and infrastructure sectors.

Read: China takes stock of Modi, ready to do business

Read: Global powers India-bound for mega defence deals
 
As the government looks to ease foreign direct investment norms, the PM’s visit to the European economic powerhouse could be significant.
 
“The PM’s visit will be important as he is expected to lay economic policy path that he intends to follow and make an offer to German major manufacturers to create assets in India,” a South Block official told HT on condition of anonymity.
 
The German government’s invitation came after Merkel learnt of Modi’s plan for an overnight halt at Frankfurt.
 
According to sources in the government, Modi is expected to leave India on July 11, a day after his government presents its maiden budget. After two days in Germany, he leaves for Brazil on July 14.
 
The next day, the heads of five big emerging world economies —Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, together known as Brics — will meet in the eastern Brazilian port city of Fortaleza.

While Merkel will be the first senior world leader to host Modi, his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping will be watched with a great deal of interest.

Read: A man to do business with: China must woo Modi

Modi will also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin whose “meddling” in neighbouring Ukraine has virtually pitted him against the West.

As for the German team, their President Joachim Gauck will be cheering them on at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, provided they win their next two games.


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