India & Germany: The Positioning from the German States
Talking about the strengthening of the government & business connects between India and Germany, reasons thereof and how certain states in Germany like the State of Baden-Württemberg are walking that extra mile to develop stronger business ties between the two countries. Touching briefly also the composition of the SME segment in Germany, how it has synergistic parallel with the SME segment in India and the challenges & opportunities faced by the SME segments on both sides to harness the potential of the relationship. The multi-tier approach is taking good shape and the political leadership in the German States like Baden-Württemberg are active in this space.
The State Minister and Head of the State Chancellery of Baden-Württemberg (Germany) Mr. Klaus-Peter Murawski was in New Delhi in the first week of October 2017 on an visit to India. One of the programs was to celebrate the Day of German Unity. 3rd October is celebrated by the Germans all over the world as the Day of German Unity. It commemorates the anniversary of German reunification which got compete in 1990 when the East & West German countries came together. This year, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in cooperation with the State of Baden-Württemberg had organized the celebration event in New Delhi. The event was attended by more than 1.800 highranking guests from all walks of life across the country. They included eminent industrialists, bureaucrats, diplomats from various countries based out of New Delhi, social scientists, NGOs, religious leaders across faiths and politicians amongst others. The function was held at German Embassy in New Delhi, the host of the event was Dr. Martin Nay, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, and State Minister of Baden-Württemberg Mr. Klaus-Peter Murawski.
In an open conversation with State Minister Murawski, he emphasized the need of greater cooperation starting at the school & college level between the two countries. The student exchange between the top institutes in India and Germany should form a long-term connection between the two countries. He stressed the importance of the cultural & social basis for the business, without which the benefits may not be long lasting. On the business front, he wanted SME companies to focus on the areas that have a greater acceptance on both sides e.g. Ayurveda based products, collaboration between medical fields can be good areas to grow among others.
State Minister Murawski said "Apart from the traditional areas like Mechanical & Electrical Engineering sector and Automotive, one of the future of areas of collaboration between the two countries could be Medical Research & Treatment. There are a lot of resources involved in this sector in the state and there can be further opportunities that can be explored". The State Minister also met several officials from the central government and exchanged views on the cooperation between the two countries. He also addressed a seminar arranged by the Solar Cluster Baden-Württemberg and Solar Cluster India. Germany has a range of solar technology developed over the past few decades and there are business opportunities the two countries to collaborate in this segment.
The State Minister was leading a high-powered official delegation from The State of Baden-Württemberg which included Mrs. Karin Scheiffele (Head of Department, State Ministry Baden-Württemberg), Dr. Cornelia Anneliese Eberle (Head of Unit International Affairs, State Ministry Baden-Württemberg), Mr. Oliver Magiera (Unit External Sector, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor and Housing Baden-Württemberg), Mr. Jürgen Schäfer (Member of the Executive Board, Baden-Württemberg International) and Mrs. Anna Krywalski (Baden-Württemberg International). Baden-Württemberg International is an institution in Germany which helps promote the companies from Baden-Württemberg to expand abroad and provides support for market access, business delegation visits, trade fairs and events to ease the transition. It also provides the help to the companies from all over the world to settle in the state by providing practical advice in terms of location, local laws, establish first contacts for legal, taxation etc. along with other welcome services.
Mr. Jürgen Schäfer (Member of the Executive Board, Baden-Württemberg International) said “The main objective of Baden-Württemberg International is to work with all foreign companies on the hard and soft factors about establishing themselves in The State Baden-Württemberg as well as help local companies to setup in foreign lands including India. At this point there are about 900 companies from Baden-Württemberg who have setup offices or operations in India and about 50 companies from India have made Baden-Württemberg as their home. We will like to work with SME segment in India through appropriate channels to further enhance the collaboration between the two countries.” (ib)
There is a worldwide change happening in the automotive industry, perhaps one of the greatest disruptions. Several non-traditional automotive companies are coming into the field with autonomous driving, driverless vehicles, electric vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles etc. The Indian Government is also pushing with aggressive targets on the electric based vehicles to be met by 2030. This is creating a tough competition across the globe for the traditional auto companies as well as the automotive components companies. As the pressure on the traditional diesel & petrol based manufacturers grows, in order to survive, they will have to practically reinvent themselves. Although Baden-Württemberg has a major presence of the top automotive companies like Mercedes Benz, Bosch there is a shift happening in terms of number of electric vehicles that are coming on the roads. Today approximately 20 percent of all German electric vehicles are driven in Baden-Württemberg and the number is set to rise. Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) are also causing disruption in the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering & production companies. This is a classic fusion of hardware and software worlds! This provides opportunities for India with its high IT competence. However, it is also a chance for Baden-Württemberg with its engineering skill and its 150 years of production experience.
Information: With the opportunities that are actively promoted by The State of Baden-Württemberg, the SME segment in the State of Maharashtra (and even wider India) can benefit immensely. Let’s Bridge IT is an organization based out of Freiburg (Germany) & Pune (India) and dedicated to foster collaboration between Germany & India for the past 17 years. In close working with the Indian companies, Industry Associations and Government (Local as well as State), the organization has developed excellent understanding of the Indian Ecosystem. As part of Lets-Bridge IT, Mr. Ashish Pandit (Partner) & Ms. Iris Becker (Founder) represent the Karlsruhe and the German State of Baden-Württemberg in Pune and Maharashtra.