The Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, along with the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, will be hosting "German Days" between 4 and 7 October at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. For the first time ever, Mumbaikars will be able to experience the convergence of German culture, lifestyle and innovation at one place.
"What we really want is for the people to experience Germany. We intend to showcase German companies, their contributions, what they stand for… We wish to highlight German culture: the food, music, and lifestyle," Germany Consul General Juergen Morhard told Firstpost.
Perhaps, the first thing that will come to anyone's mind when thinking of German culture is the Oktoberfest, the historical beer festival that is held each year in Munich. While "German Days" is a new addition to Germany's ever-expanding engagement with India, the Oktoberfest will be entering its eighth edition in Mumbai.
What will make this year's Oktoberfest more authentic is the fact that the band that plays at the Munich Oktoberfest – die Kirchdorfer – will also be playing in Mumbai, the consul general said. Not just this, but revellers can also watch robots serving them beer!
"The Oktoberfest is in its eighth edition this year, and it seems to be getting more and more popular. What the people seem to appreciate is the authenticity of what is offered to them, be it the popular sausages that are specially flown in from Germany for the event, or even authentic German craft beer," Morhard said.
Apart from the Oktoberfest (more details here), Teutonophiles can also pursue a crash course in dancing and the explore the intriguing world of the German language: Without spending a penny.
In modern-day diplomacy, culture has become an important component of any country's foreign policy. Soft power, as it has come to be called, helps a country build international goodwill and consequently create an unique identity for itself in the league of nations.
While Oktoberfest will be a major attraction for Mumbaikars, the event is just part of the larger four-day programme, where business is expected to be the major focus area.
Germany is India's largest trade partner in Europe and the fourth largest worldwide. The total trade volume between the two countries is currently at around 20 billion euros. So, it will not be an understatement that trade has been the bedrock of the bilateral ties between India and Germany.
"Out of the more than 1500 German companies present in India, you will find a high number present at the event – among them big household names such as Lufthansa, Siemens, BMW, Volkswagen, and many more," Morhard, who has held diplomatic positions in Japan, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, said.
According to Morhard, Mumbai as the "financial hub" plays an important role in Germany's economic interests, pointing out that nearly 380 companies operate in the metropolitan area.
World over, Germany has been a nation associated with technological innovations, much like Japan. Staying true to its image, the Germans are expected to show their technological prowess in automobiles, robotics, home-appliances among and other industries.
"The event will give an opportunity to Mumbai audiences to engage, network, connect and learn about many innovative German companies who have a presence in India," an Indo-German Chamber of Commerce official told Firstpost.
Make in India — Prime Minister Narendra Modi's project to make India a manufacturing hub — figures prominently in Germany's business interests in India.
"Germany relies heavily, when it comes to certain industries, towards India and this campaign has added far more incentive as now exports from India are growing tremendously. Industries like textile and machinery, which India has strong foothold in and exports a lot to Europe. Thanks to Make in India, the importing processes are far more smoother and efficient," the official said.
Another field where Germany is looking to tap India's potential is education. Long known for its world-class education in the field of engineering, Germany is increasingly becoming a favoured destination for finance-related courses too.
"The number of Indian students opting Germany for higher education is rising by the year. German Days will host one such top-business university from Germany, where the students and also others can interact to know more about the courses they offer," the official said.
With UK all set to leave the European Union, Germany seems to be the leader of the 27-nation economic union. Hence, Germany becomes the focal point of India's ties with the EU. In such a scenario, ties with Germany will assume more and more strategic nature.
Morhard pointed out that India and Germany have been in a strategic partnership since 2000, when both countries adopted the ‘Agenda for the Indo-German Partnership in the 21st Century’. The focal point of the bilateral ties is the bi-annual Indo-German intergovernmental consultations, which Morhard believes is unique.
"As far as Germany and India is concerned, it’s safe to say that we are in touch, we are comfortable, we are working together and we are growing," the consul general said.
Updated Date: Oct 03, 2017 11:38 AM