As part of his two‑day visit to India, Federal Minister Steinmeier met new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks today (8 September). Speaking to journalists in New Delhi afterwards, Steinmeier said:
I wanted to make sure we establish contact with the new Indian Government as early as possible. That is why – in spite of crises and day‑to‑day crisis management – I made time to come to India for two days and have talks here with academics, artists, journalists and business leaders as well as gaining as comprehensive an insight as possible into the current situation.
And this current situation is a special one. I met the new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who is very ambitiously tackling a reform package with which he aims to change the country – a country comprising hundreds of millions of young people waiting for employment and training and expecting more from this Government than its predecessors were able to deliver. This is not an easy path; it’s a risky one at that, for if the Prime Minister fails to live up to the expectations of the ordinary people, it will be a blow to the Indian model of democracy.
Hence, our talks focused on what direction the change is going to take and on the question of how Germany and India can cooperate even more closely to support the country in its ambitious development programme. India is chiefly looking for cooperation, above all in the field of vocational training. There is a great need for support in many fields – from enhancing infrastructure to improving healthcare – in which I see the potential for Germany and India to move closer together.
I was therefore all the more pleased to receive the official announcement during my talks with the Prime Minister that India would be next year’s partner country at the Hannover Messe. I think we in Germany will then be shown the full range of today’s India once again – its economy, but also its opportunities for the future. India is an ambitious country with an ambitious Prime Minister, and I am glad we got a complete picture of that yesterday and today.