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ONE BILLION EUROS FOR SOLAR PROJECTS

Around18 MoUs and letters of intent and a new German assistance package for over 1 billion euros for solar projects in India ­ taking overall commitments to more than 2 billion euros ­ were sealed during inter-governmental consultations led by PM Narendra Modi and Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday .

The third India-Germany inter-governmental consultations saw Modi describing Germany as a `natural partner’ for India’s economic transformation and said clean energy and climate change are areas witnessing high level of convergence and cooperation.

Merkel’s visit also provided a leg up to EU-India ties with both leaders committing themselves to restarting talks for the stalled FTA while MoUs signed spanned education, railways, security , food safety, skill development and manufacturing reflecting the depth of the IndiaGermany strategic relationship and importance Modi and the Chancellor accord to bilateral relations. Elaborating on climate change, Modi said, “We look forward to a concrete outcome at COP21 in Paris that strengthens the commitment and the ability of the world, especially of poor and vulnerable countries, to transition to a more sustainable growth path.” Foreign secretary S Jaishankar said Germany welcomed India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted to the UN last week.

MoUs were signed on security, which will see the use of sky marshals. India agreed to fasttrack investments by setting up a special facility for German companies with the Indian side promising a “single-point clearance” by March 2016. They also discussed cooperation in defence manufacturing using Modi’s `Make in India’ initiative.

Another important takeaway came in the form of Modi and Merkel underlining their “strong commitment” to the EUIndia Broad-Based Trade and Investment Agreement (FTA) and committing to bringing about a resumption of negotiations as soon as possible. The negotiations for EU-India FTA have remained stalled with India expressing concern over issues like data security and EU seeking to place restrictions on sale of over 700 Indian drugs.

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