It's boom time

It seems to be peak season for Indo-German exchange on all fronts, writes Varupi Jain.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2005 16:18 IST

It seems to be peak season for Indo-German exchange on all fronts - economic ties, political visits, scientific collaborations and cultural exchange. Let's peep at a slice of it.

In his inaugural address on the occasion of the India Week in Bavaria last month (for details, see previous article in this column), the Bavarian Minister-President, Dr Edmund Stoiber interestingly pointed out that "in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, in a certain way one can find similarities between Bavaria and India…" Besides being economic heavyweights in their respective federal systems, both Karnataka and Bavaria achieved this position primarily on account of their persistent focus on the technological sector. Mr Stoiber particularly pointed out the aviation and space research and information and communication technology sectors.

Bavaria has considerably evolved as an IT and media destination. This can be partly attributed to the Bavarian liaison office founded in 2001 as the 'State of Bavaria-India Office' in Bangalore.

Pointing to Karnataka, Mr Stoiber declared "we strive for an official partnership with this highly interesting state with 53 million inhabitants. I do hope that the talks and contacts within the 'India Week' will contribute to a situation in which Bavaria can soon welcome Karnataka in the network of 'Power Regions of the World'". This association of Bavarian partner regions includes Quebec, California, the Chinese province of Shandong, West Cape, Upper Austria and, from next year on, São Paulo.

As for academic exchange, four Bavarian colleges and universities currently maintain partnership relations with six Indian Universities and Institutes. The Technical University of Munich, for instance, concluded a partnership agreement with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore in 2002.

Also present at the same occasion from the Indian side, Mr EVKS Elangovan, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, pointed to the recent 6th India-EU Summit. India and the EU have concluded a framework agreement for India's cooperation in the EU's Global Navigation Satellite System or the 'Galileo project'.

Mr Elangovan also pointed out the economic robustness of Indo-Bavarian relations. Indo-Bavarian trade is substantial - a billion Euros - and growing. Investment flows are increasing. Siemens and Allianz already have a strong presence in India. BMW is on the threshold of setting-up an assembly facility in Tamil Nadu. Munich Re is seriously exploring the Indian market. Giesecke & Devrient, already present in India, are diversifying. Munich Airport, as part of an international consortium, has submitted bids for the Delhi and Mumbai airports. Mittlestand companies from Bavaria are entering into tie-ups with Indian counterparts.
"We are also beginning to see a new trend of Indian investments abroad. I am sure that as this flow intensifies, Indian companies will make their mark even as investors in Bavaria," Mr Elangovan said.

Made in Germany - really?

The string of Made in Germany brands above reminds me of the aha-experience I had on coming across a list of German inventions, which, I suspect, we never thought were German.

Sample this: Adolf (Adi) Dassler - read carefully again - invented the athletic shoes (Adidas) in 1920. Felix Hoffmann (Bayer AG) came up with Aspirin in 1899. Your pair of Levi's first came to life in 1853, thanks to a certain Herr Levi Strauss. Bernhard Zondek developed the first scientific pregnancy test back in 1928. A 'simple' invention from Dresden in 1907 conquered the world - and its restrooms - the toothpaste!

And of course, the next time you down a bottle of Lager or Pilsner, thank Herzog Wilhelm IV von Bayern - who invented beer as long ago as 1516. Keep floating!

First Published: Nov 22, 2005 16:13 IST