BANGALORE, India -- At an event Tuesday in India's technology hub, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, reiterated his "Make in India" strategy and said a partnership with the European industrial giant would help boost that vision and raise trade between the two nations to its true potential.
India needs its manufacturing sector -- languishing at about 16 percent of GDP for years -- to pick up if the millions of youth joining its cities and job market every year are to be gainfully employed. Manufacturing should rise to command a quarter of India's GDP in the medium term, Modi said, adding that India wants to tap Germany's strengths in making India a global manufacturing hub.
"There's tremendous potential in India-Germany economic collaboration. Germany ranks seventh amongst foreign investors in India. About 600 Indo-German joint ventures are already operating in India. However, as of now, our economic partnership remains below our full potential," Modi said, speaking in English. "We are particularly keen to develop the sectors where Germany is strong. We are working hard to create conducive conditions for the same. At a time of global slowdown, India represents a bright spot for investments."
The speeches were streamed live on the prime minister's website and on his official mobile application. Merkel spoke earlier in German and an English translation was not immediately available.
Merkel, who is in India on a three-day official visit that concludes Wednesday, visited the Bangalore facility of German autoparts maker Robert Bosch, accompanied by Modi.
Trade talks between India, Asia's third-largest economy, and Germany, Europe's biggest, are currently in a bit of a lull over a dispute involving exports of generic drugs manufactured by Indian pharmaceutical companies to Europe. India is relying on Merkel to help thaw the situation, Reuters reported Monday, citing a high-ranking Indian official.
Merkel is accompanied by the top executives of some of Germany's best-known multinational companies such a Siemens AG and E.ON, and several agreements, including in areas such as solar power and defense technology, have been signed during her visit.