The State of Bavaria could well be considered as an engine-within-engine driving the overall Indo-German relationship.
The year 2005 marked the 500th anniversary of trading contacts between Bavaria and India, when Bavarian business families from the cities of Augsburg/Nuremberg sponsored German trade missions to India as part of a Portuguese voyage in 1505. The famous Bavarian company Siemens constructed the first telegraph line between Calcutta and London in 1866. Built on such solid foundation, the Indo-Bavarian bilateral relationship has been growing exponentially over the last several years, especially since the opening-up of the Indian economy in the early 1990s.
Important Visits from India to Bavaria was that of Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in May, 2003. Other recent important visits included that of Shri. Arjun Munda, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, April 2011; Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy, June 2011; Mr Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce & Industry January, 2013; Mr K. Chiranjeevi, Minister for Tourism in March, 2013; Minister for Communication & IT, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad in September, 2014, and Mr. Manoj Sinha, Hon’ble Minister of State for Railways in April 2016.
Key Visits from the State of Bavaria to India included Minister-President of Bavaria, Dr. Edmund Stoiber in February 2004; and Minister-President Dr. Edmund Stoiber in April, 2007. Following are the other recent important visits: Dr. Markus Soeder, Bavarian Minister for Environment and Health, visited Bangalore and Kolkata from17-21 April 2011; Bavarian Deputy Minister President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology, Mr. Martin Zeil, visited Bangalore in June 2012 to participate in the Global Investors Summit (GIM) organised by the Government of Karnataka in Bangalore; A 27 member delegation from the Bavarian Parliament led by Prof. Ursula Maennle, Chairperson of the Federal and European Affairs Committee, visited Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore during 4-12 February 2012; and a business delegation led by Ms Katja Hessel, Deputy Minister for Finance & Affairs visited India in February, 2013. A delegation consisting of the Members of Bavarian State Parliament on Municipal Affairs, Internal Security and Sports, headed by Chairman of the Committee Dr. Florian Hermann visited India from 16-21 March 2015. The Bavarian Minister for Agriculture, H.E Mr Helmut Brunner, visited India from 27 March to 1st April 2015.
Indo-Bavarian Trade and Economic Ties: Within Germany, Bavaria is a major driving force for the fast growing trade and economic ties between India and Germany. India’s two way trade with Bavaria reached from € 731 million in 2002 to € 2.6 billion in 2015, registering a cumulative increase of 222% per cent. During the period 2002 to 2015, Indian exports to Bavaria have increased from € 286 million to € 1.1 billion, whereas Indian imports from Bavaria surged from € 445 million to € 1.5 billion. In the year 2015, the share of Indo-Bavarian two-way trade was around 15 % of the total Indo-German bilateral trade.
Bavaria-based companies have traditionally considered India as a reliable and promising economic partner. At present, some 350 Bavarian companies have their business ventures in India in different fields. Some of the big names include Siemens, BMW, Audi, MAN, Adidas, Allianz AG, Munich Re, Airbus, Infineon, Wacker Chemie, Osram, Linde, etc.
Increasing Business Visas: In 2012, this Post issued 61,233 visas out of which 16,182 were business visas. In 2013, 52,903 visas were issued which consisted of 16,206 business visas. In 2014, this Post issued more than 37,728 Visas of which over 15,620 were Business Visas. Out of a total of 41,191 visas issued by this Consulate in 2015, 15,981 were business visas. This gives an idea of the business interest in India.
Besides encouraging German companies towards India, Bavaria is also very keen to project their State as a preferred destination for potential Indian investments. For this, they opened a representation office of Invest-in-Bavaria in Bangalore in 2001, which has been upgraded to full representative office in 2013. Their main Chambers of Commerce and Industry remain actively involved in promoting business awareness through seminars, round-tables, and sector-specific presentations. At present, there are over 50 Indian companies which have invested in Bavaria and the big names are: TCS, Wipro, L&T Infotech, Dr. Reddy’s Lab, Torrent Pharma, Graphite India, Sona Group, etc.
German Centre, Gurgaon: For facilitating mutual investments, the Bavarian Landes Bank (BLB) in collaboration with the Baden-Wuerttemberg Landes Bank (LBBW) have set-up the German Centre in Gurgaon. The centre has become operational since December, 2008 aiming to facilitate mutual trade and investment.
Bavaria-Bengal Football Cooperation: Reputed Bavarian Soccer Club, FC Bayern Munich, has entered into some arrangement with the Football Clubs from India for cooperation in training and coaching.
India-Bavaria Cultural and Educational Relations: Bavarians have a long standing and genuine affinity for Indian history, culture and tradition. Their Universities have produced several well-known Indologists. The Indology Department at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich, is amongst the oldest in Germany. The Wurzburg University established a Centre for Modern Indian Studies under the German Academic Exchange Services with a special programme called ‘A new passage to India’. Bavaria has a series of centres teaching Indian classical dances, yoga, meditation and promoting ayurveda. Indian food is also highly popular. Munich has the reputation of having several well-run Indian restaurants. Bollywood is becoming increasingly popular. There are several local groups promoting Bollywood dancing. The well-known ‘Indien Institute’ has been operating from Munich for the last over 80 years and organises cultural and educational programmes regularly. An interesting aspect of the cultural cooperation between India and Bavaria may be seen in the enthusiasm of the City of Koenigsbrunn who has installed the Mahatma Gandhi Statue in their Town Hall in 2010.
Cooperation in higher education: German Universities in general and the Bavarian Universities in particular are keen to have greater exchanges of scholars, researchers and students in all fields, more so in science and technology. For this, the Hof University of Applied Science has set up a Bavarian-Indian Centre for Business and University Cooperation (BayIND) in July 2009, with an objective to coordinate and promote cooperation between Bavarian and Indian Universities. BayIND is supported by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Association of the Bavarian Business (VBW). Currently, there are around 12,000 Indian students in various universities and educational institutions in Germany and out of this around 1,173 Indian students are studying in Bavaria. Bavaria is also promoting an increased number of their students going to India for higher studies. They have instituted three annual Minister-President’s scholarships for Bavarian students to study in India. There is also a School to School cooperation between the schools in Bavaria and the schools in India.
Cooperation in Vocational Training : During the April, 2013 visit of Prime Minister to Germany for the 2nd round of India-Germany Intergovernmental consultations, many useful MoUs were signed in the areas of Vocational Training and Education, etc with entities from Bavaria such as Hof University of Applied Sciences, and Bavarian Employers’ Association. A joint effort by the G.D. Weiler Group has now obtained full accreditation with the Chamber of Commerce (IHK), Nuremberg. In 2015, Training and Development Center of the Bavarian Employers’ Association (bfz) GmbH has been selected to carry out a project for modernizing the state-owned key institutes for vocational education and training personnel, under a programme of Indian Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGE&T). The inter-institutional cooperation with the two master trainer institutions in Bangalore is scheduled for three years. The target areas being welding and mechatronics.
Bavaria-Karnataka Cooperation MoU: During the visit of the then Minister-President of Bavaria, Dr. Edmund Stoiber to Karnataka in April, 2007, he signed an MoU with the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri H.D. Kumaraswamy for enhanced State-to-State cooperation in the fields of commerce, industry, technology, research, infrastructure, tourism and other related areas. With a view to implementing the objectives of the MoU, the two States (represented by Shri Murugesh R. Nirani, Minister for Large and Medium Industries, Government of Karnataka and Ms. Emilia Mueller, State Minister for Federal and European Affairs in the Bavarian State Chancellery) have signed a concrete action plan on June 30, 2009, on the margins of the Global India Business Meet (GIBM) 2009 in Munich. The Bavarian State Minister for Federal and European Affairs, Ms. Emilia Mueller, visited Karnataka in July 2009 and signed an implementation programme for joint action on clearly identified projects. The MoU focuses on enhanced cooperation in the areas of science and research, environment, industry, film and media, and education.
S & T co-operation: The elite Fraunhofer Society established its representative office in Bangalore on 30 October, 2012.
Indian Community in Bavaria: According to official figures, as on 31 December 2014, Bavaria is home to around 12,755 Indian nationals and about 7,500 PIOs live in the State of Bavaria, making a combined strength of approx. 20,300. The NRI/PIO community in Bavaria includes IT professionals; businessmen and traders; restaurant operators; students and researchers. There are around 1,173 Indian students in Bavaria.
Air Links: Bavarian capital Munich is emerging as an important hub for connecting Indian Travellers to various parts of Europe and North America and vice-a-versa. Lufthansa currently operates daily flights from Munich to Delhi as well as Mumbai.