Bangalore, June 22 (IANS) Bilateral trade between India and Germany would touch 20 billon euros ($25 billion) during this calendar year despite debt crisis in Europe and the global economic slowdown, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Friday.
"As our largest trading partner in the Europe Union, bilateral trade with Germany is going strong. We are optimistic of the trade between the countries achieving 20 billion euros in 2012 as against 18 billion euros ($22.5 billion) in 2011 despite the banking crisis in Europe and slowdown globally," Krishna told reporters here at a joint press conference with visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
Noting that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe was of great concern not only to India, but also worldwide, Krishna said as the Euro crisis had the potential of choking trade across the world, including India, Germany with a robust economy was in an enviable position to defuse the crisis.
"Germany is in the best position to lead the fight against the debt crisis that had deeply affected some countries in the European Union (EU) as it had as much stakes in Europe, which is the most prominent business destination for other countries, including India," said Krishna after an hour-long bilateral meeting with Westerwelle.
Appreciating Germany's commitment to extend financial and political support to debt-ridden countries in Europe, Krishna said the reassurances of Westerwelle in tackling the banking crisis would provide a psychological strength to the affected countries and help them in overcoming their debt crisis.
"Germany has the firepower to take the EU on the path of a higher economic growth and in assisting the affected member-countries in solving their financial crisis," he observed.
Assuring Krishna of Germany's commitment to build a better future for Europe and in stabilising the euro, Westerwelle clarified that the EU was facing a debt crisis and not a euro crisis.
"We are striving hard to manage the debt crisis, which has morphed into a crisis of confidence. It is a debt crisis and not a euro crisis," Westerwelle asserted.
Admitting that fiscal discipline was imperative to overcome the debt crisis, the German minister said the mounting debt crisis could not be solved by taking more debt, but by reviving and sustaining the growth.
"The euro currency and the EU economy are stable and the Germany economy is doing excellent," Westerwelle noted.
Both the ministers also discussed the declarations of the G-20 summit held at Los Cabos in Mexico June 18-19 in addition to the bilateral relations spanning trade, education, cultures, investment opportunities and exchange programmes.
"In addition to trade and economic issues, we discussed thrust areas between our two countries such as education, innovation and research in cutting edge sectors to enhance our bilateral relations," Krishna said.