Situation of Kashmiris Unsustainable, Must be Improved: Merkel

The German chancellor reportedly added that she would raise the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi later.

3 min read

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, 1 November, told reporters accompanying her on her India visit that the conditions in which Kashmiris are living are “unsustainable” and must be improved, according to Reuters.

She reportedly added that she would raise the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi later.

India and Germany signed five joint declarations of intent after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, 1 November, PTI reported.

Eleven pacts have been inked between India and Germany in fields such as space, civil aviation, maritime technology, medicine and education, according to PTI.

Delivering a joint statement with Merkel, PM Modi said, “We have resolved to intensify bilateral, multilateral cooperation to deal with terrorism and extremism.”

PM Modi said that the expertise of technological, economic power houses like Germany will be useful for building 'New India' by 2022.

Merkel batted for a stronger exchange programme in various aspects with India.

“20,000 Indian nationals are studying in Germany. We would like to see even more. When it comes to vocational training, we want to have exchange of teachers too,” Merkel said.

Merkel also said that Germany intends to work very closely with India on sustainable development and climate protection.

“The agreements signed between Germany and India proof that ties marching ahead in areas of new and advanced technology,” Merkel said at the joint statement.

Earlier, Modi and Merkel co-chaired the fifth Indo-German Inter-Governmental Consultations to strengthen the "very close" relationship between the two countries.

Merkel, who arrived in Delhi on Thursday night, was received by Prime Minister Modi on Friday morning at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where she was given a ceremonial welcome.

Modi and Merkel met at the Hyderabad House for the Consultations.

The IGC is a unique broad-format dialogue chaired by both leaders with members of Cabinet participating from the two sides.

‘Delighted to be in India’:

Speaking to the media earlier on Friday, Merkel said that she was delighted to be in India.

“I am delighted to be here in India. Germany and India are linked by very close ties. We have great respect for this vast country and its diversity,” she said.

Merkel is in India on a two-day visit during which she will hold talks with PM Modi on a host of bilateral issues, with nearly 20 agreements expected to be signed between the two countries.

Merkel was received at the airport by MoS Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh. She will also be meeting with a business delegation during her visit.

“Enriching the strategic texture of our relationship. German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Delhi beginning her State visit to India during which she, along with PM @narendramodi will co-chair the 5th-IGC (Inter Governmental Consultations).This would be the 5th meeting between the leaders within a year,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Modi, Merkel Have ‘Very Good Relationship’

She will call on President Ram Nath Kovind in the evening and will also hold a meeting with the prime minister at his Lok Kalyan Marg residence.

On Saturday, 2 November, the German leader will meet a business delegation and visit Continental Automotive Components India Pvt Ltd in Manesar, Gurgaon.

Before heading home, the chancellor will visit the Dwarka Sector 21 Metro Station.

Ahead of the visit, German envoy to India Walter J Lindner had said the Modi and Merkel have a “very good relationship and they can talk about any issue. I do not want to anticipate what the two leaders will be talking about.”

He was responding to a question on whether the Kashmir issue will be discussed between them.

Lindner had said the position of Germany on Kashmir is consistent with that of the European Union which had asked India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue, seeking a peaceful and political solution, respectful of the interests of the Kashmiri population on both sides of the Line of Control.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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