Angela Merkel arrives in India, meets PM at Rashtrapati Bhavan
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in New Delhi on Thursday night for a two-day visit, and on Friday morning she was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Both the leaders are scheduled to have discussions on a host of issues later and could sign as many as 20 agreements. Merkel also exchanged pleasantries with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Here's more.
Delighted to be in India, said Merkel
Merkel has a packed schedule today
Merkel, 65, was given a ceremonial reception at the President's House. She will soon visit Rajghat, the resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, to pay respects. Reportedly, India had accepted Germany's request to allow Merkel to remain seated when anthems of both the countries would be played at Rashtrapati Bhavan, due to her health constraints. She was seen sitting at the forecourt today.
Spot visuals: Merkel was allowed to sit when anthem played
Earlier, German Parliament called for strengthening ties with India
Interestingly, Merkel's visit to India comes days after the German Parliament passed a resolution calling for bettering ties with India. Calling India a "pillar of strength" in South Asia, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, "It would be dangerous from a European point of view to constrict Asia policy too much to China, especially as we have a partner in India."
Separately, Germany's ambassador was optimistic about the visit
Notably, this is Merkel's fourth visit to India. She will co-chair the 5th-IGC (Inter-Governmental Consultations) with PM Modi. About the agenda of her visit, Germany's envoy to India Walter Lindner said both countries have a huge potential to increase cooperation. When asked if Article 370 will come up during talks, Lindner underlined Merkel and PM Modi have commendable ties and can talk on anything.
A high-profile delegation is accompanying Merkel
Apart from traditional sectors like transport and energy, Merkel and PM Modi could also discuss green urban mobility and artificial intelligence during IGC. Merkel is accompanied by a high-profile delegation, including three German cabinet ministers. Tomorrow, she will meet a business delegation and pay a visit to Manesar's Continental Automotive Components India Pvt Ltd. She'll visit a metro station in Dwarka before heading home.
Modi and Merkel have met several times recently
Considering Delhi's condition, anti-pollution masks have been kept for delegation
Since the delegation is visiting at a time when Delhi has turned into a gas-chamber of sorts, authorities have made proper arrangements. Anti-pollution face masks have been kept for the delegation, reports News18. Air purifiers have also been installed in their hotel rooms.