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Remarks by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at Indo-German Business Summit, Hannover, Germany

April 24, 2006

I am delighted to be here with you, Chancellor Merkel, at the Inaugural Session of the Indo-German Business Summit. I know you share my enthusiasm for closer business and trade relations between our two countries. This Business Summit, and the various events organized in the Hannover Industrial Fair, offer an excellent opportunity for our business communities to forge useful linkages. They also provide a new impetus to our bilateral commercial engagement. I look forward, Excellency, to working closely with you in taking Indo-German relations to a higher level of cooperation.

I would like to thank the Hannover Fair authorities for their excellent arrangements and gracious hospitality. It is an honour for India to be here once again, after 21 years, as a Partner Country. India and Germany have longstanding and enduring cultural, social and economic relations. There is enormous respect for German enterprise and creativity in India. Today, Germany is the 6th largest foreign investor in India and most major German companies are already in India, and doing well. Several have become market leaders in their areas of operation. Several Indian subsidiaries of prominent German companies have out-performed the German parent companies. This has created a good basis for cooperative engagement between our businesses. While the bigger German firms have been present in India for a long time and know India well, the German Mittelstand has also played an important role. We seek a closer engagement with this crucial sector. In this context, I would like to recognize the excellent work that the German-India Round Table has done in promoting this objective.

It is because of all your good work that businesses in both our countries have a positive view of each other. I was heartened to see that a recent survey of German business leaders showed that more than 80 per cent of German companies are aware of the huge potential of the Indian market. I believe 65 per cent of German manufacturing companies already have a presence in India and another 30 per cent plan to come there. This is a good augury for expanded cooperation between us in future.

As I said yesterday at the inauguration of the Hannover Messe, the fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong and robust. We are confident of sustaining our high economic performance and growth rates of 8%. Indeed, we aim to raise this to the 8-10% bracket in the near future. Indian firms are becoming globally competitive and we are witnessing the rise of Indian multinationals. India has become a production base and an export hub for a range of products from agricultural goods to automobile components to high end and IT enabled services. Indian firms are now part of global production chains – importing, sub-assembling, adding value and re-exporting. The Indian Pavillion at the Hannover Messe is, as we have just seen, a good representative sample of Indian skills today.

Today, corporations from all over the world are establishing themselves in India. They seek to take advantage of the pool of high quality scientific talent and skilled work force in the manufacturing and services sectors. There is immense scope for Indo-German Cooperation based on the triad of infrastructure development, manufacturing and high technology. Many German companies in India have successfully leveraged the advantage India offers to set up R & D facilities and business process outsourcing operations. Other corporations are also increasingly aware of the enormous opportunities that a market of over a billion consumers offers, in the long run. Consequently, it is no surprise that German companies are planning to expand their operations in India and make India their manufacturing hub for the region. This is smart strategic planning. I welcome it!

I offer my warm felicitations to the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, and the Indo-German Consultative Group. You have made a remarkable contribution in promoting the economic partnership between our two countries. I wish you success in all your future endeavours.

I would like to wish this Business Summit all success.

April 24, 2006

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