Wednesday, May 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee arrives in Germany
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

Berlin, May 27
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee arrived here this evening on the first leg of his three-nation European tour and declared that terrorism would be the “main issue” of his talks with the German leadership.

Mr Vajpayee said the menace of terrorism was not confined to one country or region and had assumed serious international dimensions. Therefore, a concerted global action was required to tackle the problem.

The Prime Minister was welcomed at Tegel Airport by Indian Ambassador to Germany, T.C.A. Rangachari.

Mr Vajpayee’s official engagements in Germany begin tomorrow. He is scheduled to meet German Bundestag (Parliament) President Wolfgang Thierse tomorrow and later have a summit meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder with whom he is going to have a working lunch.

Bilateral, political and economic ties will come up for review during the meeting. Mr Vajpayee will take this opportunity for briefing the Chancellor on his latest peace initiative with Pakistan. He will also meet other German leaders, including Foreign and Defence Ministers.

Mr Vajpayee will travel to Munich on Thursday, the hub of the German industry, where he will meet leaders of industry and commerce.

Germany has already stated from time to time that trade ties with India are a top priority for it. Trade between the two nations is balanced but at a relatively low level. German exports to India last year were worth $ 2.8 billion while German imports from India were valued at 2.5 billions Euros.

Germany is a major source of foreign direct investment (FDI) and technology in India with a total approved FDI of $ 2390 in 1999-2000 and foreign collaborations numbering $ 2116 for the same period. Germany is also India’s largest provider of development assistance after Japan.

The Prime Minister’s high-level delegation includes External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley. Mr Jaitley is also slated to begin wide-ranging discussions with his German counterpart during which he will discuss WTO matters further to the Doha meet and in preparation to the Cancun meet in Mexico this September.

Mr Sinha and Mr Jaitley are scheduled to travel to Munich along with Mr Vajpayee.



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