BERLIN: Summer has come late to Berlin this year. But while temperatures may not touch Delhi-like highs, PM Narendra Modi is likely to find Germany basking in the warmth of a summer evening when he touches down here on Monday evening.
On the first of his two planned visits to Germany this year – Modi will be back in Hamburg in July for the G20 summit – he will kick off the bilateral summit with a cozy dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Schloss-Meseberg, the official country retreat of the chancellor. It’s a special gesture to signify the importance of the bilateral relationship. It will be the last Modi-Merkel meeting before Germany heads for national elections in September.
In a Facebook post prior to his visit, Modi said, “Our strategic partnership is based on democratic values and commitment to an open, inclusive and rules-based global order. Germany is a valuable partner in our development initiatives and German competencies fit well with my vision for India’s transformation.” The continuity of Indian foreign policy is most evident here – both Manmohan Singh and Modi describe the India-Germany relationship as “transformational”.
Modi and Merkel will meet a group of top CEOs here on Tuesday, where Modi is expected to hardsell India’s economic reform initiatives and invite them to invest in India. The trouble here, from the German point of view, is the Indian decision to kill all bilateral investment treaties between India and European countries.
Indian officials said the treaties were poorly negotiated and patently against Indian interests. European countries had asked India to keep them going for six more months but India refused, in anticipation that European countries would weigh in with the EC to complete negotiations on the India-EU FTA. The FTA discussions have been delayed and will continue to be because EU is currently consumed with the Brexit negotiations.