Modi Markets

German Firms Look to India Again, Warily

Hannover Messe 2015
Angela Merkel with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi at the Hannover Messe in April.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If German companies can boost business with India they may be be able to offset losses they incur through China’s slowdown.

  • Facts


    • Angela Merkel will visit India for the third time as chancellor in October.
    • India now has the fastest growing economy in the world, with GDP growth of 7.5 percent.
    • India is currently Germany’s 25th most important trade partner, with €8 billion worth of exports heading east.
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Uttar Pradesh is an Indian state that is obsessed with guns. Farmers own pistols, politicians distribute arms to their followers, school teachers feel unsafe without their own weapons.

Guns are a status symbol, and security in a poor and largely unpoliced state. Many weapons are hand made, beaten into rough shape by blacksmiths. But locals speak longingly of the sort of gun they would most like to own: A pistol that is “Made in Germany.”

Meanwhile, 600 kilometers north in the capital New Delhi, politicians are looking at ways to clean up the Ganges river; a holy, myth-laden and deeply polluted waterway that flows through India from the Himalayas.

They are also looking to Germany. The Rhine river, also shrouded in myth and part of Germany’s national identity, was once fouled, but an initiative in the 1990s has made it one of the cleanest waterways in the world.

When India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, came to visit Germany in August she spoke enthusiastically about how her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier had offered to help India improve the Ganges.

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