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France, Germany vie for Indian submarines deal: re

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France, Germany vie for Indian submarines deal: report

BERLIN (AFP) Oct 07, 2004

France and Germany are locked in a battle to win a contract to sell six submarines to India, the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt said Friday, citing German political and industrial sources.

Berlin is backing the HDW consortium's bid, though its French rival DCN was a hot favourite, according to the newspaper in its Friday edition, which says Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder wanted to raise the deal with the Indian government.

After a meeting in New Delhi with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Schroeder said Thursday the two countries aimed to double trade over a five-year period from the current annual level of five billion euros (some 6.15 billion dollars).

They said science and technology would be the new focus of their strategic partnership.

The two countries also agreed on annual high-level exchanges and said they would continue to support each other's campaigns for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Schroeder, accompanied by a business and political delegation, arrived in India Wednesday on the first leg of a four-nation tour aimed at bolstering ties with Asia.

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