Iran blocks Merkel's flight en route to India
Iran has not said why it denied German Chancellor Merkel's plane entry to Iranian airspace, although relations between the two have deteriorated over Iran's nuclear program and EU sanctions.
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While the main focus of Ms. Merkel's visit is trade – Germany is India's largest European trading partner and the two conducted $21 billion worth of business in 2010 – another important topic is security.Skip to next paragraph
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In a preview to Merkel's visit, Indian newspaper The Hindu reports that issues on the agenda will include a German plan for economic assistance to Pakistan in order to bolster the military's ability to fight militants in the country's tribal regions – a plan India opposes.
Afghanistan also figured into talks. Germany is reducing its number of troops on the ground and is seeking the involvement of other countries in the region as it begins its pullout, according to The Hindu.
At a government meeting in New Delhi Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that terrorism would have to be "fought on all fronts and not selectively," The Times of India reports. The comment was likely an allusion to the US relationship with Pakistan – despite substantial economic assistance from the US for counterterrorism efforts, India and many other countries charge that Pakistan is not doing enough to confront militants.
India and Pakistan's rivalry is a tense one that has spurred nuclear weapon development in both countries, intended as a deterrent – or eventual defense – to each other.
The two countries also discussed United Nations Security Council membership, according to The Hindu. Neither are permanent members of the council (Currently, it is only the US, Britain, China, Russia, and France) and both Merkel and Singh said that they hope UN reforms will change membership "to reflect the contemporary reality of the world" – meaning permanent seats for the two, who have gained international influence in recent years.