The German consulate in India's tech hub formally inaugurated by Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier Friday caps over five decades of Bangalore's German connection.
The consulate, now functioning from temporary premises, may see long queues for German visas from people of Karnataka and Kerala when it starts functioning soon. The visa section for all the southern states still remains with the German consulate in Chennai.
The Bangalore consulate will take time to become a new German landmark in the city as it has to beat 'MICO' and Max Muller Bhavan, the two other German entities that are almost a household name in the Karnataka capital.
MICO, the Motor Industries Co, has recently preferred to be known by its parent company's name, Bosch. But for millions of Bangaloreans and others in Karnataka, it is still MICO -- associated with the spark plug for motorcycles.
MICO, when it was set up in 1951, was on the outskirts of Bangalore. Now it is part of the CBD (central business district) as Bangalore has grown miles and miles beyond the MICO factory.
The Bangalore Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan began functioning in 1960. Like other Max Muller Bhavans in India it offers language courses, organises cultural events and has a German Resource Centre. It functions from upscale Indiranagar area in Bangalore.
An added attraction is 'Caf
The cafe is a popular hangout not only for the arty folk but for the young as well.
Ahead of the consulate's opening, the Bhavan got a solar energy system installed by IBC Solar, one of the world's leading photovoltaic system providers from Germany. The company is planning to tap the Indian market for its product.
"India is an important market to generate power from solar energy. IBC Solar has been working in the field of generating solar power for the last 26 years. As we are working out to start our Indian venture soon, we thought it appropriate to introduce our technology to Bangalore, one of the most happening places in India," said Udo Moehrstedt, founder of IBC Solar.
IBC Solar is the latest German firm planning to set up shop in Bangalore, which is home to around 120 German or German-Indian joint ventures, according to the Indo-German Chambers of Commerce (IGCC).
"The availability of highly trained personnel and an enormous pool of technical and scientific specialists make Bangalore attractive for German companies. Special sectors here are the IT industry, mechanical engineering and the car and aerospace industry," said an official of IGCC, Bangalore.
Besides MICO, other well known German companies which have manufacturing units or offices in Bangalore include SAP, Mercedes Benz Research, Nokia Siemens, Siemens and Metro (Cash & Carry wholesaler).
Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka are also favoured destination for German FDI (foreign direct investment).
In the financial year 2006-07 (April to March), German FDI totalled Rs. 5.39 billion, with Karnataka receiving the second highest amount of Rs.1.4 billion. Delhi stood first with Rs.2 billion and Maharashtra third with Rs.1.18 billion.
Ahead of the consulate opening, Evelin Hust, director of Goethe Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore, said: "Bangalore exudes great warmth because of its pleasant climate and charming people, most of whom are well qualified. Many of my relatives and friends have visited Bangalore after I came to the city two years back."