New Delhi: Prime Minister Mamohan Singh on Friday returned home after his three-day visit to Germany during which key issues like India-EU FTA were discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel articulating the impediments in inking of the pact. Pitching for investments from Germany and other countries, Prime Minister Singh had made it clear during the trip that government's resolve to boost economic growth remains "unwavering".
India and Germany also inked about six key MoUs including that for putting together Euro seven million for next four years towards joint research in the field of higher education and a pact for a soft loan of Euro one billion (Rs 7,000 crore) for strengthening the green energy corridor in India. Singh was accompanied by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah, Human Resource Development Minister M Pallam Raju and Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy.
While a number of issues figured during the discussions held between the two sides, the long pending India-EU FTA was one of the main focus. Germany pressed India to hike the foreign equity cap in the insurance sector and reduce tariffs on import of automobiles as a prelude to the India-EU Free Trade Agreement. After talks with Singh, Merkel said that India and the EU have not yet overcome "all the difficulties" in reaching an agreement to conclude the FTA.
India is pressing Germany, the biggest economy in Europe, to provide a "strong political thrust" for inking of broad-based Bilateral Investment and Trade Agreement (BITA) with the 27-nation European block.