The year of Germany in India, “Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite opportunities” on the occasion of sixty years of diplomatic ties between the two countries is the perfect time to reflect what Germany and especially German corporates have contributed and achieved in India over the last decades and centuries and where they are standing today.
Going back in history the German missionaries Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg in the South East and Dr.Hermann Gundert in the South West of India were the first Germans who researched and documented the Indian languages, and, of course, Max Mueller, the famous Indologist, who analysed the Indian myths and vedics like nobody else without ever having been in India. These pioneers who were able to find ways for Germans and Indians to communicate at all were followed by the German technology pioneer Siemens who, with his telegraphic line between London and Calcutta, made it possible to communicate over long distances without having to travel and thus mastering to bring Germany and India and Europe and India closer long before we had airplanes. Later it was the German steel magnates from Krupp, Thyssen and Mannesmann who built the steel plant in Rourkela, at that time the largest steel plant in the world, and the mother of the Indian
steel industry. Then came the foundation of the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras with the help of the Technical University in Aachen as well as the joint venture between Daimler-Benz and the then TELCO to manufacture medium sized commercial vehicles in Jamshedpur.Today, companies like Bosch and Siemens are household names in India. German products are synonymous with unmatched quality and reliability. Today the largest 120 German companies in India alone employ 173,000 people directly and another 300,000 indirectly by way of exclusive agents, suppliers, franchisees and vendors, thus making German companies a major employer in the country.
The trade between India and Germany will reach Euros 20 billion very soon and the recent investments by Volkswagen in the range of Euros 580 million in Chakan, by Daimler with Euros 700 million in their truck venture in Chennai and by Siemens who are increasing their shareholding in Siemens Ltd. for more than 1 billion Euros show the direction. German companies are by far India’s largest trading partners from the EU. With more than 1,500 companies from Germany present in India this strong position will even grow. While initially German investments in India were mainly of the large German manufacturing corporates, now also the service industry and the German Mittelstand have come in a big way. In the financial services sectors Deutsche Bank is a major international player and Allianz Insurance with its Bajaj Allianz joint venture is the largest foreign insurer in the country. Lufthansa group with more than 70 weekly flights is the largest European carrier. Without the German logistic masters like DHL, Hapag Lloyd, Schenker and Hamburg Sued the Indian trade could not boom the way it does. For a company like SAP, Bangalore is the largest hub outside their headquarters in Walldorf and without the more than 5,000 Indian software developers SAP would not be the global market leader that it is today.
For the Indian business houses Germany with its leading trade fairs was the gateway to the world for many decades. At a time when Indian companies could not invest abroad they were at least able to do trade by way of import or export.
For this purpose they came to Germany to see the latest technology and to find their business partners. Nowadays Indian companies can invest abroad and they do so increasingly. Suzlon took over RePower and Bharat Forge acquired Peddinghaus. The Indian IT Industry is investing heavily in Germany and similar is the auto component industry.
Looking at the future, the German system of vocational training can play a critical role in the development of India since the demographic dividend should be harvested by making people employable. IGCC has four training centres in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata where it trains young Indian graduates in line with the German system of vocational training in cooperation with German and Indian companies. And almost like the first German missionary, IGCC has brought many young Germans to India as interns and legal trainees.
Many of them have returned. Finally, IGCC provides translation services even though with English as the global language, communication is not a problem anymore. With these century old bonds, English as the lingua franca and with the internet which makes India just being a mouse click away from Germany it is up to the German and Indian people to make full use of the infinite opportunities.
© GermanyContact India 5 / 2011