Source: The Hindu
NEW DELHI, JAN. 15 2014
With the general elections round the corner in India, the German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner said he was in touch with various political parties on the need for a Free Trade and Investment Agreement between India and the European Union at the earliest.
“That (being in touch with various political parties) is my original role as Ambassador to explain our interests, especially if we have shared interests. Now we are in an election period. We are not there yet, but I hope that this is taken up,” the Ambassador told the media on Wednesday, on the sidelines of an event organised to facilitate issuing of short-term Schengen visas at the German missions in India and Bhutan.
Pointing out that the agreement India and the European Union were negotiating was a free trade and investment agreement, Steiner said “we all know that India needs growth, just as we do. How do we achieve this? One very decisive element for producing this growth is investment. Not investment from cheap money but investment from someone who strategically and in the long-term wants to be a part of the economy.”
When asked if the free trade agreement that the EU was negotiating with the US would shift the focus from the agreement with India, the Ambassador said there was not “too much time but there is openness from our side because (it is) in European and German interests and surely in India’s interest.”