Red tape delays pacts during German president’s visit?

January 29th, 2010 - 5:46 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) India and Germany were planning to sign four pacts, including one on security and counter-terror cooperation, during German President Horst Koehler’s weeklong visit beginning Monday but these will not happen now due to “bureaucratic procedures”.
Interacting with journalists ahead of the president’s visit, German ambassador Thomas Matussek said the two countries were planning to sign four agreements, but will not be able to do so because bureaucratic procedures on the Indian side were not completed yet.

The pact on security and counter-terrorism, which involved laying down a legal basis and framework for the training of Indians by anti-terror specialists in Germany, was sought by the Indian side, the envoy said.

“We have sent a draft to the home ministry. It is being looked at by by the external affairs ministry,” Matussek said.

The envoy added that he had spoken to Home Minister P. Chidambaram about the pact and he had assured that he will push it fast. But the agreement is not ready for signing yet, he said.

The same goes for an agreement on economic and technological cooperation involving $500 million. “It’s currently in the MEA (external affairs ministry) for their approval,” the envoy said.

Two other pacts which were expected to be signed included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on social security and an MoU on corporate responsibility.

Asked whether his remarks constituted an indictment of the Indian bureaucracy, the envoy tried to play it down, saying every country has its procedures and Berlin respected them.

The pact on counter-terrorism could be a big boost to India as Germany has proven expertise in anti-terror equipment and training. The issue was discussed when the German interior minister had visited India last year to express solidarity in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Since then, Matussek said Germany sold India some anti-terror equipment and helped with the training.

The envoy also underlined the need for both countries to share real-time intelligence to avert terror attacks with trans-national links.

Accompanied by a high-profile business delegation, Koehler will arrive in India on a weeklong visit Monday, the first visit by a head of state from Germany in seven years.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold talks with the German president Tuesday on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues. The focus will be on closer partnership in addressing a host of global challenges, including international terrorism, climate change and poverty reduction, the German envoy said.

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