NEW DELHI: India on Monday laid the red carpet for German investment by agreeing to fast track business approvals for German firms through a single window system, even as Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to take forward the India-EU free trade agreement which has been stalled over the ban on Indian drugs. They also inked significant pacts in the security sector.
In all, 18 agreements, ranging from teaching of languages, solar energy, exchange of information on terror suspects, sky marshals to railways and manufacturing, were signed after the third Inter-Governmental Consultations. Germany has also agreed on a package of over €1 billion for solar projects in India.
With ease of business being Merkel’s top priority, India agreed to give German firms similar privileged treatment that Japanese companies now receive. Later, the joint statement said Germany welcomed Modi’s commitment “to improve ease of business in India”, with a fast track system for German firms to be set up in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, which would be operational by 2016.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar said Germany appreciated that the “business climate improved” after Modi took over. With 1,600 companies operating in India, the total bilateral trade is around $20 billion.
A big policy decision was also made with both countries agreeing on “resumption of negotiations as soon as possible” for the EU-India broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement. Jaishankar said Modi had raised the ban on 700 generic drugs with Merkel in the context of restarting the FTA talks.
He said Modi “urged the Chancellor... to ensure that the right decision was made by regulators”.