Expressing confidence that a solution to the issue of replacing German with Sanskrit as the third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas will be worked out amicably, German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner on Saturday said that during his stint in India so far, “the best German learners are in India”.
Speaking at an Inter-school German language festival ‘Namaste Deutschland’ at DPS Mathura Road, Steiner said, “The demand for learning German increases everywhere in the world. It has increased incredibly here in India. I have served in many posts, in many countries in the world, where students learn German. But, I say it with confidence, the best German learners are here in India.”
He said, “I am deeply confident that after the meeting of our leaders —Prime Minister Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — and also the talks here in India, I am deeply confident that India will find a tactical solution in accordance with the Indian law which will allow two things — to preserve the cultural identity and to continue our successful German learning programme.”
Drawing a comparison between India and Germany, Steiner said both countries had followed similar paths in certain respects.
“In Germany, the most important river is the father Rhine and in India it’s mother Ganga. It has taken some time, but I must tell you, father Rhine, 30 years ago, was absolutely toxic. You couldn’t swim or fish. Today, you can swim and fish again. And here in India, you have this huge programme to clean river Ganga and that is one field where we can cooperate. If we take the ingenuity of India and our experience together, I think this wonder we have seen in Germany with our magic river can be repeated here.”
Steiner also stressed on the importance of choosing a foreign language. In his concluding remarks, he said, “There are very good reasons…to learn German. But in the end, it’s not so important that you all have chosen German. You could have chosen also French, Spanish, or Mandarin. What is really important is that you have chosen a foreign language because language is the tool to the globalised world, it’s the tool to global confidence.”