-- Translation of advance text! --
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to open the Indo-German Urban Mela. This very important event is the centrepiece of the Year of Germany in India. “Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities” is our motto for celebrating the Indo-German friendship and 60 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries. This Urban Mela showcases our projects and our common visions. It gives visitors an impression of the potential of Indo-German cooperation to shape our common future.
We will have to master great challenges together. Some 60% of the Indian population still lives in rural areas. In twenty years' time India’s cities will be home to 215 million more people than they are today. 68 cities will have more than one million inhabitants.
Urbanization is not an issue limited to the so-called megacities. Although Germany has no cities with more than 4 million inhabitants, it is more urbanized than many other countries. For example, Germany is more densely populated than China. Urbanization is one of the world’s mega-challenges.
Germany offers great solutions. German architects, German city planners and German administrative practitioners possess the most advanced skills in urban and regional planning. We offer solutions for transport and human security. We are focused on the efficient management of the supply of energy, water and related services. We have experience in the recycling and disposal of waste and a whole lot more besides. We have developed easily-available medical services, and ensure that working conditions, housing and schooling are all sustainable. In short, we have to organize the day-to-day life of a relatively large and dense population.
Germany wants to make these skills and technologies available to our partners in India. Today, German companies provide more than 50,000 jobs in Karnataka. We want to bring a further boost to our economic cooperation with India through trade and new investment. The Urban Mela should serve as an inspiration.
Earlier today I inaugurated the new building for the German Consulate-General in Bangalore, the first career consular mission in Karnataka. The Consulate-General will be a gateway to Germany and a facilitator of contacts between our countries. We are looking forward to a long period of true and mutually beneficial partnership.
This Urban Mela opens a window to Germany. It will give you an idea of our modern and innovative country. And it enables you to discover something of the potential of our Indo-German cooperation. I am sure it will stimulate your appetite for more of what Germany is ready to offer you.