India, Germany to discuss IMF reforms, defence deal

Although Merkel will be in India for only a day, the visit promises to be a substantive one with six senior Cabinet ministers from Germany holding separate talks with their Indian counterparts to expand cooperation in areas like defence, security, renewable energy and economic ties. 

This will the first inter-governmental dialogue between India and Germany, the only second such mechanism Berlin has with any non-European country after Israel.
Merkel will also kick off the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries by inaugurating an year-long Festival of India in Germany with an evening of classical music at Siri Fort Auditorium.

She will be conferred the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhawan Tuesday evening - the second German leader to win this coveted prize after then chancellor Helmut Kohl.

A slew of agreements are expected to be signed after talks between Manmohan Singh and Merkel. There could be important announcements about Germany assisting India in the areas of high technology and vocational education. Germany is known for its prowess in green and energy-efficient technologies, Vishnu Prakash, the spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, told reporters Monday.

Manmohan Singh is expected to raise the issue of the reform of international institutions of governance, including the UN and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Merkel may seek India's support for the selection of a European - French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has already announced her candidacy - for the top IMF job. This is one area which may witness a dissonance as Manmohan Singh has recently questioned the monopoly of Western powers over top jobs in the World Bank and the IMF.

Merkel is set to renew the pitch for German-led four nation consortium EADS Cassidian's Eurofighter Typhoon in the race for a $10.4 billion deal for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft that the Indian Air Force plans to buy, reliable sources said.  

The competition has intensified after the IAF's trials shortlisted the Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Dassault Aviation's Rafale aircraft last month. 

The two sides will discuss closer cooperation in a host of areas including IT, small and medium enterprises, bio-technology, infrastructure and entertainment.

The agenda for the Manmohan Singh-Merkel talks was firmed up Monday during talks between External Affairs S.M. Krishna and his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle here.

Germany is India's largest trading partner in Europe, with bilateral trade estimated to be 15.5 billion euros. Germany has invested 2.7 billion euros in India.    

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