India and Germany have agreed to further expand and intensify bilateral cooperation in a number of fields, including trade and infrastructure, they kicked off the second inter-governmental consultations at the cabinet-level in Berlin.
Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma and German minister of economics and technology Philipp Roesler reached the accord at a bilateral meeting shortly before the two-day consultations were formally opened on Wednesday with a dinner hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Singh and Merkel will jointly chair the consultations, which is being attended by nearly half-a-dozen cabinet ministers and other senior government officials from both sides.
Sharma and Roesler pledged to further build up the existing cooperation between the two countries in a number of fields and to explore new areas for future tie-ups.
They identified modernisation of India's infrastructure as an area holding tremendous potential for cooperation in the coming years and decided to set up a working group to promote German investments and deployment of German technology in this area, the ministry of economics and technology said in a press statement.
The German side showed great interest in participating in India's mega project, the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor involving eight new cities with industrial centres and 24 large industrial estates and a similar project planned between Mumbai and Bangalore.
Sharma and Roesler agreed that the two countries will cooperate in these projects, the statement said.
India and Germany are already working very closely in the economic and commercial fields and the two nations are keen to further strengthen this cooperation, Roesler told the meeting, which was held at his ministry.
Further expansion of German business and industry's engagement in India will be a major step in this direction and the potential is especially great for deploying German technology in a number of fields, including infrastructure development, Roesler said.
He conveyed to Sharma concerns expressed by German companies that patent protection is no longer sufficiently guaranteed in India and stressed that dependable conditions are necessary for investments by German companies in India, the statement said.