Collaboration with Germany to boost India’s defence manufacturing sector
High-technology collaborations with German companies can be a major boost for India’s defence manufacturing sector. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen who met PM Modi on Wednesday said that her country is keen on collaborating with India in defence technology and equipment. A day prior to meeting Modi, Von der Leyen met her Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar and expressed her country’s willingness to take part in the ‘Make in India’ initiative. “Cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries, partnering of Germany in the Make in India initiative in the defence sector and supply of state-of-the-art equipment/technology were some prominent issues discussed by the two defence ministers,” the defence ministry said in a statement. The German defence minister’s visit which came nearly a month after Modi’s visit to Hannover Trade Fair is also considered important for India’s focus on inviting foreign investors in the manufacturing sector. Germany, with its advanced technological expertise, can prove to be a vital economic partner, especially in manufacturing and skill development. Modi has asked German companies to take advantage of “enormous opportunities of defence manufacturing and defence research and development” in India. While addressing a conference organised by the Observer Research Foundation, the German defence minister said that her country is also willing to join hands with India on cyber security. Citing reports of the Computer Emergency Response Team India, she said the number of identified cyber attacks against India is now five times than that reported four years back. “In 2013, cyber attacks caused a loss of approximately $4 billion to the Indian economy. Due to the complexity and dynamic nature of cyber media, the availability of trained personnel is the critical factor for success in mitigating risks and leveraging potential. I see various opportunities for cooperation in those fields,” she said. Experts believe that India’s skilled manpower combined with German technology can lead to a stronger cyber security mechanism, which will be beneficial for both the countries. Bond between Germany and India also has the potential to increase dominance of the European country in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea — the two major routes of international trade. Expressing concern over the security in the Indian Ocean, Von der Leyen said, “The Indian Ocean between the Suez Canal, the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Malacca is one of the key highways of globalization. That maritime trade route, however, is used for trading TV sets, oil and gas as well as for trafficking in humans, drugs and terrorist know-how. This highlights both sides of global networking like a magnifying glass.” The bilateral relation is expected to grow further when German Chancellor Angela Markel visits India in October.
May 28, 2015 | 5:50 pm IST.