Berlin: Underlining the enormous potential of expanding bilateral trade and investment, Germany and India on Monday expressed their strong support for the upcoming negotiations between the European Union and India on a Free Trade Agreement.

Germany and India, in a joint statement, said they aim to make supply chains more resilient, diversified, responsible, and sustainable.

Both governments highlighted the need to work together to ensure that supply chains can continue to bring economic benefits while upholding international environmental, labour and social standards.

"Germany and India are important trade and investment partners. Both sides expressed their strong support for the upcoming negotiations between the European Union and India on a Free Trade Agreement, an Investment Protection Agreement and an Agreement on Geographical Indications, and underlined the enormous potential of such Agreements for expanding bilateral trade and investment," the joint statement read after the conclusion of sixth Inter-Governmental Consultations.

Against the backdrop of one of the biggest global jobs and social crises in decades, both sides recognised the importance of working together to build back sustainable labour markets and of aiming to facilitate a resilient, inclusive, gender-responsive and resource-efficient recovery.

"The goal is to promote employment and decent work, the introduction of re- and upskilling policies that enable all people of working-age to do the work of tomorrow and responsive social protection systems that can fight poverty and reduce inequalities, while contributing to a sustainable future," the statement said.

Both sides acknowledged the importance of digital transformation as a key driver for technological, economic and societal change.

"The Indo-German Digital Dialogue is an important instrument to facilitate cooperation on digital topics such as Internet Governance, emerging technologies and digital business models. At the same time, they expressed their support to benefit from synergies with other existing initiatives like the industry-driven Indo-German Digital Experts Group," the statement added.

In the field of bilateral trade and investment, both sides underlined their readiness to continue the successful format of the Indo-German Fast Track Mechanism, which has proven to be an important reference for current and future investors.

India acknowledged the technical expertise of German companies in the railway sector.

"Building on the Joint Declaration of Intent signed in 2019 between the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and the Indian Ministry of Railways on future cooperation in railways, both sides underline their continued interest in cooperating further in high speed and energy-efficient technologies in support of Indian Railways' ambition to turn net-zero by 2030," they said.

Germany and India expressed their appreciation for the Indo-German Working Group within the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (GPQI) for their continued efforts to strengthen cooperation in the fields of standardisation, accreditation, conformity assessment and market surveillance.

Both sides noted the Work Plan for 2022 signed during the 8th Annual Meeting of the Working Group that identifies new areas of collaboration in the areas of digitalisation, smart and sustainable farming/agriculture and circular economy.

Both Governments expressed their wish to further strengthen the start-up cooperation and in this context appreciate the ongoing cooperation between Start-up India and the German Accelerator (GA).

PM Modi today also held a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Scholz. This was their first engagement since Chancellor Scholz assumed office in December 2021.

Discussions covered key areas of bilateral cooperation under the overall strategic partnership, as well as regional and global developments.