Merkel: US relations important, but must also look elsewhere

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel today held the fourth round of the inter-governmental dialogue to set a roadmap for the bilateral strategic ties.

While German businesses say they are optimistic about the general business climate in India, they point out a raft of problems that diminish their enthusiasm to pump more investment into the country.

Gabriel's comments come after German Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted the dip in transatlantic relations on Sunday.

Modi and Chancellor Merkel will also hold a meeting with senior business leaders before inaugurating the Indo-German Business Summit 2017 later today.

Schloss Meseberg, around 65 km from Berlin, is the country retreat of the German Chancellor and the official state guest house of the German government.

Modi had arrived in Berlin earlier on Monday at the start of his six-day, four-nation tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France. "We (also) want to double the number of German companies in India to 3,600 from 1,800", according to Singh who retired in March this year after serving 37 years in foreign service with Germany being his last posting.

The two leaders also reviewed Brexit, its effects on both India and Germany as well as the future of the European Union (EU).

"The interaction lasted almost three hours, and covered various areas of mutual interest including smart cities, skill development, clean energy, etc. There was appreciation of India's reform agenda, particularly GST", India's Ambassador to Germany Mukta Dutta Tomar told reporters at a briefing here last night. "We are committed to provide a supportive business ecosystem to those who join us in our growth story", he said.

Germany is India's largest trading partner in the European Union, and a top source of foreign direct investment.

The visit has been seen as the first stepping stone for the countries to focus on trade and investment, security and counter-terrorism measures, technology, skill development, infrastructure, railways, civil engineering and cleaner energy.

"Economic relations with Germany is the most important pillar of our partnership".

Hailing Germany's extensive work in skill development, Prime Minister Modi said that it would benefit the youth of India.

The two leaders - who will meet again at a G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg in July - are also expected to discuss the growing military reach of China across the contested South China Sea and into the Indian Ocean.

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