Speech by the Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on the occasion of the official opening of the chancery of the Federal Republic of Germany’s Consulate-General in Bangalore on 22 June 2012

22.06.2012 - Speech

-- Translation of advance text! --

Mr. Chief Secretary,
Herr Botschafter,
Herr Generalkonsul,

A global shift is taking place. We must see the world as it is, not as it was. And from what we see we must draw our consequences. As an export-nation openness and interconnectedness are essential to Germany. This Consulate-General in Bangalore is one step of adapting our consular network to real-world developments.

I am very pleased, Mr Chief Secretary, to be here with you today in Bangalore to officially dedicate the Consulate-General’s new chancery.

In Bangalore, you can feel the tremendous energy and dynamism pulsing through this hub of economic activity.

This is a place of entrepreneurship, research and innovation. People who want to create something together gather here. Germany must be represented in this city with a Consulate-General.

Today, 94 million people live in the states of Karnataka and Kerala. In the past decade the population of Bangalore has doubled to around 9.5 million, making it the third largest city in India.

The region’s great potential has been recognized by the 150 German companies that have settled here. Many of them are Mittelstand, our small and medium-sized firms. They have created more than 50,000 jobs. 6000 of them in research and development. Around 100 of India’s 240 biotechnology companies have their headquarters in Bangalore. It is also India’s “Silicon Valley”.

Today there are 35 cooperation arrangements in place between German universities and universities in Karnataka. One visible success of this cooperation is the Center on Lipid Research, which was founded in 2011 by India’s National Centre for Biological Sciences and the Max Planck Institute. World class research is being done here. Germany wants to be part of this development. The Consulate-General lets us be close to the action.

Every year 100 young people from schools in the Bangalore area come to Germany as exchange students. Every year we have around 2100 language learners at the “Max Müller Bhavan”. The institute works 7 days a week and there still is a waiting list. We support around 1000 language learners from around 30 local schools, 500 will follow shortly. In a few years, these boys and girls will be excellent ambassadors for our country.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our connections with the new centres of global power is our capital. Germany’s openness is crucial to its success. That sounds abstract, but really it is not. Just consider visa allocation. Issuing visas is one of the main aspects of consular work in Bangalore. The great demand for visas is evidence of the very strong interest people have in Germany. Forty percent of the long-term visas issued in India go to professionals, scientists and students from Karnataka and Kerala.

This Consulate-General is a gateway to Germany. The goal of German foreign policy is to give shape to openness instead of administering separation. That is true in Bangalore; that is true in Asia’s centres of growth; that is true worldwide.

I would like to thank the Indian Government in New Delhi and the Government of Karnataka for their support while we were establishing and building up our consular presence. We are looking forward to close, friendly cooperation in the future.

Let me now present Consul-General Dr Ingo Karsten, with the symbolic key to the new chancery. I wish you all the best. And that your efforts will be fruitful on behalf of the partnership between Germany and India.

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