Manmohan Singh's visit to Germany and Belgium fruitful: Katju

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Onboard Special Aircraft, Dec.12 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to Germany and Belgium was successful since several high level exchanges took place with leaders of both countries, said Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Vivek Katju.

Interacting with mediapersons onboard Air India One while returning to New Delhi, Katju said: "Prime Minister met the Prime Minister of Belgium (Yves Leterme) yesterday evening. His meeting was in the context of high-level exchanges that have been taking place between the two countries over the past few years."

"To recall, the King of the Belgium had visited India two years ago, and earlier this year, the Crown Prince had led a large delegation, a large business delegation, consisting almost 300 business people. Belgium is the third largest trading partner of India," he added.

Katju further said bilateral trade between India and Belgium is in the range of 7.5 billion Euros.

He said the agenda during the meeting between Dr. Singh and Prime Minister Yves Leterme was focussed on the economic and commercial context of the relationship between the two countries.

Diamonds have a major share to the extent of around 75 percent of the bilateral trade between both countries, he added.

Katju said Dr. Singh and his Belgian counterpart also stressed on the need to diversify in other sectors.

The two countries also focussed on the opportunities available for further investments from Belgium into India, especially in the infrastructure sector.

"There was also a focus on the opportunities available for further investments from Belgium into India, especially in the infrastructure field. As you know, we have very ambitious plans for the development of our infrastructure, and that gives opportunities to Belgium companies to take part in some areas where they specially have strengths like imports," said Katju.

He also mentioned that there was also certain focus on cooperation in energy and biotechnology sectors, since it was noted by both sides that the political content of the relationship was excellent and would undoubtedly continue.

Katju also said Dr. Singh had a fruitful meeting with German President Christian Wulff and a detailed engagement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where they discussed the relationship between India and Germany and agreed that it is marked by reliability, which provides a good foundation to move it forward.

Speaking about the value of trade between India and Germany, he said both countries have set a target of reaching a level of 20 billion Euros by 2012.

"There are great opportunities to enhance our level of trade (with Germany) which is around 13 billion Euros at the moment. This year, we are hoping that it would reach around 15 billion Euros, the bilateral trade. The two countries had set a target to reach a level of 20 billion Euros by 2012," said Katju.

He also noted that discussions were held on investment in technology flows from Germany to India, and the need for greater enhancement in these areas with a specific focus on energy, renewable and solar sources in particular.

Issues of international concern, including the spread of terrorism across the world and the current economic and financial situations in both countries were discussed, he said.

Dr. Singh visited Brussels to attend the 11th EU-India Summit. During his visit, he met European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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