Germany not to 'interfere' on Kashmir issue: Michael Steiner

Srinagar, July 2 (ANI): German Ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, on Tuesday said that his nation is not in favour of taking any side or position on the issue of Kashmir since it could be viewed as an external interference.

Addressing the students of Kashmir University here, Steiner, however, said that Bonn recognises the legitimacy of institutions in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The German position on Kashmir is not changed and we will not take up a position which can be any way seen as an interference. That is our first position. We, of course, I do that by coming here to Srinagar, recognise fully the legitimate institutions here in Kashmir," he said.

Steiner further said that Germany would only concentrate on issues related to economy, development and human development in the region.

India was the first country to end the state of war with post-war Germany in 1951 and amongst the first countries to grant recognition to Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The relationship, based on common values of democracy and rule of law has gained significantly in strength in the 1990s following India's economic liberalization and the end of Cold War. Germany and India cooperate closely on the issue of UNSC expansion within the framework

of G-4.

India and Germany have a 'strategic partnership' since 2000, which has been further strengthened with the first Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC) held in New Delhi in May 2011. The two countries have several institutionalized arrangements to discuss bilateral and global issues of interest viz. Strategic Dialogue, Foreign Office Consultations, Joint Commission on Industrial and Economic Cooperation, Defence Committee Dialogue and Joint Working Group on Counter- Terrorism.

The course of the future relationship was set by the two visits of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Germany in 1956 and 1960. There are regular bilateral exchanges, including at the highest level. (ANI)

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