Angela Merkel India visit: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is on a two-day visit to India. The German leader was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan and accorded a ceremonial welcome on Friday. Merkel received the guard of honour at the sprawling forecourt of the iconic building. Merkel, dressed in a red court and black trousers, was seen sitting at a small stage with a shade during the welcome ceremony.
To the surprise of many, she remained seated even when the band played national anthems of India and Germany.
No, it was not a gaffe on Merkel’s part to remain seated during the national anthems, rather it was due to a special arrangement made owing to her health condition. Prior to the leader’s New Delhi visit, Germany had approached the Indian government with a request to allow Merkel to sit when national anthems would be played as she has difficulty in standing without support. The request was accepted by India.
Government officials familiar with the developments said that there are certain provisions concerning India’s national anthem which would be taken into consideration to allow Merkel to remain seated.
WATCH VIDEO: Angela Merkel gets a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan
"The exemption as per the order is being invoked based on a request from the German side to accommodate Chancellor’s wish to be accorded the ceremonial welcome," Hindustan Times quoted an official, as saying.
India-Germany share ‘very close’ ties: Merkel
Interacting with reporters after the event at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Angela Merkel described the relationship between India and Germany as "very close".
"I would like to thank the prime minister for the very warm and gracious welcome with which we have been received here. This is my fourth visit to India and I look forward to the very interesting programme," Merkel said with PM Modi by his side.
"Germany-India are linked by very close ties. We will have discussions on issues of mutual interest. We also have the opportunity of signing a number of MoUs and agreements that show that we have a very broad-based and deep relationship," she went on to add.
India and Germany are expected to ink nearly 20 agreements during Merkel’s ongoing tour.