NATIONAL

Modi, Merkel nudge FTA, sign agreements

The Prime Minister, who spent several hours on Monday evening speaking to Chancellor Merkel at the official retreat of Schloss Meserberg outside Berlin, was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at the German Chancery in Berlin on Tuesday morning.

After an hour of talks in the Inter-Governmental consultations, where he was accompanied by MoS (External Affairs) M.J. Akbar, Energy minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Nirmala Seetharaman, and Science, Technology and Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, the two sides announced agreements on cyber policy, railway safety, and the training of Indian Skill Development Officers and Cluster Managers.

Mr. Modi said Germany has prime place in skilling India’s youth, adding that the two countries are “made for each other”.

“We are a country of 1.2 billion, with 800 million youth. Germany has the right expertise in engineering, manufacturing, and is excellent in innovations,” he said. Mr. Modi however, sidestepped questions on India’s “protectionist” economic policy and on whether India would maintain its Paris accord commitments if U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the climate change agreement. “The question is hypothetical at present,” the MEA spokesperson said.

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