India, Germany to discuss on strengthening ties

Berlin: A series of bilateral ministerial meetings will set the stage for the second inter-governmental consultations at the Cabinet level between India and Germany, which gets under way here today.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will receive India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid for an exchange of views before the Cabinet ministers from both sides hold their first joint meeting in this country, government sources told PTI.

Rising tension on the Korean peninsula, Syrian conflict and the situation in Afghanistan are expected to be high on the agenda of their discussions.

They will also examine ways to further strengthen bilateral relations and review the current state of the negotiations between India and the European Union on a free trade agreement (FTA).

Parallel to their meeting, German Economic Affairs Minister Philipp Roesler will hold discussions with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.

They will explore the possibilities to further expand bilateral trade as well as to step up German investments in India and vice-versa.

Sharma is also scheduled to meet German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

The two-day inter-governmental consultations will be formally opened with a dinner Chancellor Angela Merkel will be hosting in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Chancellor will receive the Prime Minister with military honours tomorrow and afterwards they will jointly chair the inter-governmental consultations, attended by the ministers and senior officials from the two sides.

India had hosted the first inter-governmental consultations in Delhi in May, 2011.