Germany: Modi, Merkel praise Indian-German ties at Hannover Messe

Quoting the philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Germany had done "more than any other country to open India to the Western world," during a speech at the opening of the annual Hannover Fair (Hannover Messe), Sunday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her turn at the podium, touted the important business ties between the two countries, stating that Germany was India's most important trading partner in the European Union. The trade volume between the two nations stood at around €16 billion ($17 billion) last year. The Indian prime minister is on a three-day visit to Germany to encourage German companies to invest in India and participate in the 'Make in India' initiative. Speaking to a room full of industry representatives, Modi underlined that "India is open and ready to embrace the whole world" and holds "no special bias." Following the industrial trade show's opening ceremony, Merkel will host a dinner for the prime minister and his delegation. Approximately 120 Indian business executives are expected to attend. Merkel and Modi will also hold talks on bilateral relations and international issues of "mutual interest," according to a government press statement. Their discussions will wind up with a joint news conference in Berlin, Tuesday.