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There Is Always Room For Improvement, Says German Ambassador Walter Lindner

“PM Modi is focused on improving investment numbers in the country, and that is what German companies want to hear. PM Modi and Chancellor Merkel are on great terms and they constantly talk about how India and Germany can improve trade relations"

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At the Gandhi-Mandela Peace Initiative held on 11th July, 2019, German ambassador to India Walter Lindner truly was a major talking point. A peace initiative, propounded by Annurag Batra through his foundation BELIVE, celebrates the legacy of the two greatest leaders of our time-Mahatma Gandhi & Nelson Mandela. It began with a concert from Grammy Award winning artist and environmentalist Ricky Kej. To everyone’s surprise, he invited Ambassador Lindner on stage to perform a song with him. The dignitary surprised everyone with his masterful performance on the flute, contributing to the wonderful melodies of Kej and company. 

After a panel discussion on environment and sustainability, Lindner sat down with BW Businessworld to elucidate further on his views. When asked about the significance of Gandhi and Mandela to the youth of Germany, he stated that the two men are global icons. “When the link between India and Germany is mentioned, the first thing that people say is “Mahatma Gandhi,” he said. Ambassador Lindner spoke about another great icon said, “The same thing with South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s name comes up. Those two are icons. A generation seldom sees two such iconic figures near about the same time. And Gandhi’s message was so simple yet so necessary: Peace, Respect and Kindness for all things in the world, be it nature, animals, people etc. The philosophies and legacies of both men will live on for the next 500 years.”

In recent years, many have questioned the feasibility and practicality of Gandhian Philosophy in the current socio-economic and political climate. The German ambassador, however, didn’t question the philosophies.  He said: “Today’s world is indeed very complicated. For anyone in any walk of life. The values of Mahatma Gandhi, in a world that is ever-changing and complexifying, Gandhi’s message of good and bad, what to do and what not to do, is still very important to help establish your own moral standards. It allows people to take a step back, gain some perspective, and understand their true motivations”.

Lindner had some interesting views on climate change, thinking that this should be a cause that the whole world should unite toward. “There are so many environmental challenges in our way. One could be tempted to throw in the towel and say “There is no hope” but as human beings, we cling to hope and so far, we have managed to find solutions for most of our problems like health, technology so far. I think we should all come together and combine our brain and technological capacity in order to take care of this “panic” situation,” Lindner remarked. Asked on the rigor of sustainability as a mantra for the German industries, he said: “Germany is famous for its engineering and technological capacity, and we are ready to help wherever we can by helping find alternatives that can help alleviate the crisis to a great extent.”

When it comes to India and Germany, Lindner touched on a multitude of subjects. “We are doing well, but we can always do better. There is always room for improvement. I just arrived as ambassador a few months ago and it is my intention to improve it and have better numbers by the end of the year,” he said. 

“PM Modi is focused on improving investment numbers in the country, and that is what German companies want to hear. PM Modi and Chancellor Merkel are on great terms and they constantly talk about how India and Germany can improve trade relations,” he said on the bilateral trade relations with India. India and Germany bilateral trade is hovering around $21 billion. Though, there is a robust relation nut the scope of trade is much wider. “We are constantly striving to do better, and I guarantee, if you ask this question next year, we will be at a completely higher level of relations between India and Germany”, Lindner said about India and Germany’s growing bilateral trade. On the global alliance proposed by Prime Minister Modi, Lindner said that Germany is an obvious member and supporter and underlined the importance and the need for such an alliance. 


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