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German Chancellor Merkel on 3-day visit to India from October 31

NEW DELHI (PTI): German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay a three-day visit to India beginning October 31 with an aim to further broadbase strategic ties in an array of key areas including defence and security.

Official sources said Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in their wide-ranging talks, will particularly focus on giving a new momentum to the bilateral ties by significantly scaling up cooperation in several sectors.

During her visit from October 31 to November 2, Merkel will also meet top executives of major Indian companies which are active in Germany.

The two sides are likely to explore ways to further ramping up ties in areas of defence, security, renewable energy, high technology, skill development, railways, education, water and waste management and urban development, sources said.

Modi and Merkel are also expected to deliberate on key regional and global issues including the situation in Afghanistan, West Asia and Korean peninsula.

In June, Modi and Merkel met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japanese city of Osaka and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in areas like artificial intelligence and cyber security.

India and Germany have been strategic partners since 2001. Both countries have a mechanism of intergovernmental consultations at the level of head of governments which allows for a comprehensive review of cooperation and identification of fresh areas of engagement.

India is among a select group of countries with which Germany has such a dialogue mechanism.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a state visit to India in March 2018. Merkel visited India in 2007, 2011 and in October 2015. The bilateral cooperation is on an upswing in the last few years.

Germany is India's largest trading partner in Europe and India was ranked 25th in Germany's global trade during 2018.

Germany is the seventh largest foreign direct investor in India since April 2000. Germany's total FDI in India from April 2000 until March 2019 amounted to USD 11.7 billion.

A fast-track system to facilitate hassle-free regulatory clearances for German companies has been operating in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) since March 2016.

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