Hannover, April 12:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a busy schedule at Hannover on Sunday, meeting top German CEOs — including of Daimler, Voith, Metro AG and Bombardier Transportation — whom he told that India is a land of great opportunities.
Modi, who flew down to this German city after his two-day visit to France, also unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the City Hall.
He was given a rousing welcome by Indian nationals, especially students, here, with some chanting “Modi, Modi” at the airport and later outside his hotel.
The prime minister accompanied by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended a round table with German CEOs.
“Movers & shakers of German economy/industry meet with PM @narendramodi,” tweeted the external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
Modi later met the CEOs individually, including Lutz Bertling of Bombardier Transportation GmbH, Hubert Lienhard of Voith GmbH, Olaf Koch, Metro AG, and Dieter Zetsche, of Daimler AG.
He later went to the Hannover City Hall where he was accorded a welcome by the Mayor Steven Schostok. Modi also signed the golden book.
Speaking in German, the mayor expressed the hope that India and Germany can work together for the mutual benefit of each other.
Modi thanked Schostok for the warm welcome he was accorded and said that he was thankful that the mayor “honoured me in a building which is over 102 years old”.
He said India is a land of ample opportunities and invited German industries to invest in his country.
Later, Modi unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the city hall. Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said the unveiling of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi was a moment of pride not only for the residents of the city but also for every individual who has faith in humanity.
Modi said the world was facing challenges of terrorism and global warming and Mahatma Gandhi’s life provided answers to these issues.
Describing Mahatma Gandhi as a “yug purush (a great man)”, he said the Father of the Indian Nation belonged to the whole world.
“If we look at Mahatma Gandhi we can find solutions in his philosophy. He always spoke of the environment, and protecting the environment, and through his life he would give the message. And today, when the world is getting bloodied with terrorism to finish humanity, the message of non-violence and vasudhaiva kutumbakam is a valid message for all.”
“Mahatma Gandhi is an inspiration for the whole world,” he said.
Modi later joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel to attend the inauguration of the Hannover Messe fair.
The fair, for the record, is as old as India’s independence, with the first held in a factory before moving to its own premises.