Germany’s “Excellent Standing” in India

We talk to Germany Trade & Invest’s India director ­Seema Bhardwaj and director general of the Indo-­German Chamber of Commerce Stefan Halusa about relations between the two economic powerhouses.

August 2022

Ms. Bhardwaj, you became GTAI’s India representative in the spring of 2021 in the middle of the pandemic. How was that?

Seema Bhardwaj: I began my role in the midst of the second wave. Working from home and the lack of physical interactions in a new city was challenging. On a positive note, it gave me time to register the gradual change in business here. Plus I got to know the peaceful side of Mumbai! Now as most of the restrictions have eased – the city is all set to start full steam.

Mr Halusa, you recently took up your post at the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce. How do you plan to market Germany as a business location to Indian businesses?

Stefan Halusa: Germany offers companies looking to expand reliable conditions for making business investments and a secure legal framework. This makes it an attractive location. This is how we are marketing it.

How do Indian companies see Germany?

Bhardwaj: As a leading high-tech solution provider, Germany enjoys an excellent standing here. Germany’s innovative power backed with strong R&D, first-class infrastructure leading to high productivity and high quality of life at affordable prices are the key drivers for Indian business expansions to Germany.

Halusa: There are a number of factors behind Germany’s fine reputation in India. It offers Indian companies a large, affluent market and access to the entire EU. Additionally, Indian companies respect the great technological know-how of German firms. That makes them attractive partners, customers, suppliers and targets for M&A activities.

The liveliest sectors for German-Indian cooperation, according to Stefan Halusa (right) and Seema Bhardwaj, include IT, robotics, life sciences, cleantech and e-mobility. © GTAI

How has corona and the disruption to supply chains changed Indo-German business?

Halusa: Trade and investment have remained stable but are not very dynamic. Germany is always number six or seven among India’s trading partners, but the potential is much greater. To exploit it, the two sides need to push for the resumption of the EU-India trade and investment treaty negotiations. This was agreed last May, but no talks have taken place yet.

Bhardwaj: The pandemic has led Indian businesses to recalibrate their supply chains. Resilience is the critical factor as companies diversify their investments and sourcing requirements. There is a gradual shift here toward integrating Europe into supply chains.

What sorts of Indian companies are most interested in coming to Germany and why?

Halusa: We see lots of interest in the automotive sector, where access to technology plays a major role. Also in the IT sector, which views Germany as a major market. Companies of various stripes are interested in digitalization. Indian firms have excellent know-how in this area and the necessary resources that are increasingly lacking in Germany.

Bhardwaj: In addition to digital infrastructure, artificial intelligence and robotics, life sciences, health and pharmaceuticals, energy and environmental technologies, and finally, e-mobility are the emerging areas of interest.