The first Germans to arrive in India were missionaries. Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, sent by Frederick IV of Denmark, came to eastern India for the propagation of the Gospel in the early 1700s. He along with Heinrich Plütschau (de) became the first Protestant missionaries to India when they arrived at Tranquebar on July 9, 1706. In the late 1800s V. Nagel came to the Malabar Coast. He learned the Malayalam language and wrote several hymns.Hermann Gundert (1814-1893) also worked as a missionary scholar in Malayalam-speaking areas, where he translated the Bible into Malayalam. He also prepared a grammar of Malayalam and a bilingual dictionary and established two periodicals in Malayalam.
In recent years, many German expatriates have either permanently moved or established long-term residence in India. Today, German expatriates have a strong presence in India mainly in the mining and heavy engineering sector. The availability of skill the importance of intellectual property rights is well established in India at all levels – statutory, administrative and judicial. Therefore, doing business in India is a great opportunity for Germans whether in small and medium scale industries that want to go global. German graduates, frustrated by the tight job market back in Germany, are taking up positions in India. German unemployment is extraordinarily high at 4.7% in 2015 and Germans are moving to India because of the very high salaries in India, particularly in rural West Bengal. The booming Indian economy offers opportunities for young Germans.
Chennai has a significant German community of around 8,000 people and they have integrated well with the local population and they mainly work in the Software, Information Technology, Automobile, Leather Traders, Students and Food Production Industries.IIT Madras, University of Madras, SRM University and Anna University have significant numbers of German students and teachers. IIT Madras was also built with German assistance.