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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

India, Germany will see closer cooperation on Afghanistan: German envoy

German Ambassador to India Walter J Lindner said the two nations supported the previous government in Afghanistan and tried to help it make headway and improve the situation, especially for women, in the country.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: October 3, 2021 6:48:39 pm
Afghanistan, Covishield, Germany, india, Taliban, Walter J linder, India-Germany, India-Afghanistan, Indian express, India newsGerman Ambassador Walter J Lindner. (Twitter/@AmbLindnerIndia)

India and Germany are very much on the same wavelength on issues concerning Afghanistan and the two countries will see closer cooperation in this regard, German Ambassador to India Walter J Lindner said on Sunday.

“India is a very big actor there (Afghanistan)… involved in a lot of developmental projects and Germany has been very active (there) for the last 20 years. So, we both share pretty much the same principles,” Lindner said at an event held to mark the 31st anniversary of German reunification.

He unveiled a symbolic painting on a large wall at the iconic Sheila Theatre in Paharganj here depicting the friendship between India and Germany.

Lindner said the two nations supported the previous government in Afghanistan and tried to help it make headway and improve the situation, especially for women, in the country.

“We are all surprised by the fast advancement of the Taliban. Now, we have to deal with this situation. We still have to get people out of Afghanistan by talking to the Taliban. We still have a humanitarian crisis to prevent in Afghanistan through the United Nations.

“We have some conditions under which we talk to the Taliban — an inclusive government which is not yet there. But we still have to have some kind of dialogue to make advancement on these points. India is very much on the same wavelength. So, we will see closer cooperation between us,” he said.

The German envoy said economy, environmental protection, green energy, student exchange, science and technology, and artificial intelligence will be the key areas of the India-Germany partnership ahead.

Lindner said today is an important day for Germany as East and West Germany were reunited 31 years ago on this day.

“Usually, we’d host a big reception but due to Covid restrictions, we couldn’t do it again. Last year, we came up with the Scorpion’s iconic song ”Wind of Change”, which we re-recorded with Indian musicians,” he said.

“This year, we thought we’d do something different but also with an artistic twist. That’s how we got in touch with Yogesh Saini and his team from Delhi Street Art. Our idea: Why not have something which is typical of Berlin, which is the wall, a reminder of the Berlin Wall and of the graffiti that you still find on parts of it.

“We found an old wall next to an important cinema and we had Yogesh and his team paint it… We searched for a wall not in the diplomatic enclave but in the centre of the city where everyone can see it,” he added.

Replying to a question on the India-UK row over COVID-19 vaccine certification, Lindner said, “I don’t know exactly what the specifications are… why the UK is not recognising the app from India. Weeks ago, we recognised Covishield. I myself have been vaccinated with Covishield. So, those who have been administered Covishield do not need to undergo quarantine (in Germany) or face any other restrictions.”

Since Covaxin has not yet been recognised by the World Health Organisation, those who have taken it have to undergo quarantine. Once the WHO approves the Bharat Biotech-manufactured vaccine, Germany will take the next step and see if it can recognise it, the ambassador said.

On the formation of the next government in Germany, Lindner said it is very likely to be a three-party coalition. The parties that might be involved are currently holding negotiations. The idea is to get a coalition treaty signed before Christmas.

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