German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a host of bilateral issues during her visit to India starting Thursday and nearly 20 agreements are expected to be signed between the two nations, sources said. They also said Merkel will be meeting with the Indian leadership, besides a business delegation.
Meanwhile, German envoy to India Walter J Lindner said the Modi and Merkel have a "very good relationship and they can talk about any issue. I do not want to anticipate what the two leaders will be talking about."
He was responding to a question on whether the Kashmir issue will be discussed between them. Lindner said the position of Germany on Kashmir is consistent with that of the European Union which had asked India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue, seeking a peaceful and political solution, respectful of the interests of the Kashmiri population on both sides of the Line of Control.
Merkel will be holding talks with Modi on a host of bilateral issues and nearly 20 agreements are expected to signed between the two countries, the sources said.
On the visit of European Union parliamentarians to Kashmir, Lindner said, "The EU has already said it is a private visit and that is our stand too. We didn't have any idea that they are coming to India and I know as much as you do."
A delegation of 23 MPs from the European Union reached Srinagar on Tuesday for a two-day visit to assess the situation in the valley. Elaborating on Merkel's two-day visit to India, Lindner said the German chancellor would be landing in Delhi on Thursday evening and would be accompanied by a delegation from 12 ministries. He said representatives from the ministries are expected to hold bilateral meetings with their Indian counterparts.
"The topics of discussions would include artificial intelligence, sustainable development, urban mobility, agriculture and football among others," he told reporters.
She will be visiting Raj Ghat on Friday and also visiting Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, situated on Tees January Road. Merkel will also be interacting with Indian female personalities who made an impact in the society, Lindner said.
"The female personalities would include lawyers, bloggers and start up owners," he said.
Merkel would also visit a German company in Gurgaon and a metro station before leaving for the airport on Saturday, Lindner said. He said the upcoming visit of Merkel with the delegation can be treated as inter-governmental consultations.
"Germany share very close ties with India and it is one such relationship that it shares with very few countries," he said.
Calling India an "anchor of stability" in South Asia, Lindner said India has a strategic weight and importance.
"All challenges to mankind whether it is pollution or sustainable development or poverty cannot be solved without cooperation with India," he said.
Lindner said India has a "strategic weight and importance" and there are many areas of cooperation which the two countries can explore.