Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir
The German Ambassador to India, Michael Steiner today termed the killing of two youth in Indian-controlled Kashmir’s Bandipora district as big tragedy. He said that the security situation in Kashmir is far better than what it was in 1990 but the killing of two youth by Army is very unfortunate.
“As far as the security situation in Kashmir is concerned, it is far better than what it was in 1990. But the killing of two innocent boys at Bandipore is very unfortunate. It’s a tragedy as two persons lost their lives,” Steiner said.
According to the news agency KNS, Steiner while addressing media men at Kashmir University here said, “What we have to see is the spirit of the Kashmir. Kashmiris want peace that is the overall feeling which we get from every quarter of the Valley,” but he quickly added that German position on Kashmir is (has) not changed. “We will not take a position which can be in any way seen as interference but the Embassy of Germany is watching closely the situation in Kashmir,” he added.
He further said, “We are not making politics here but what we can see is that the Kashmir’s are kind of guys with whom you really can have serious talks, and you make business with them, they are the exact people with whom you can work together and build something.”
“Kashmir’s want peace this is overall feeling here, In European Union, we share our opinion which is that India is on the right path as far as development in Kashmir is concerned. We acknowledge that the developments is in right direction in this state and we international community is interested to increase links to India,” he added.
He further said that he was in a close touch with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over Germany’s investment in Kashmir, given the rich potential of the place in terms of industrial development. He, however, said that the genuine security concerns have to be kept in mind while thinking about making business investments in Kashmir. “Of course there is a huge interest in many states which want to invest here in J&K. But there are some areas where it would not be advisable to go which we have to respect. But Kashmir is so vast where you could engage yourself,” he said.
On Germany’s plans of investments in Indian-controlled Kashmir, he said, “There is a huge potential but an investor has to respect genuine security concerns, there are some areas where we won’t invest. He said the more economy Kashmir would generate, the more security place would be.”
On Germany’s Travel Advisory on Kashmir the Ambassador said that the restrictions on travel to Kashmir were eased couple of years ago and it remains the same. “Of course, we tell our citizens to remain vigilant, but he quickly added that in the interest of the Germen people we are closely watching the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“It is not true that there has been no change in the advisory on travel to Kashmir following the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru earlier this year, there has been no change in the travel advisory. At least I would have known, if there had been one,” he said.
Talking to KNS, the German Ambassador said, “German position on Kashmir is (has) not changed. We will not take a position which can be in any way seen as interference but the Embassy of Germany is watching closely the situation in Kashmir. Of course unfortunate incidents happen but we look at the Kashmir issue in a long term perspective. I think, the place is going towards a right direction.”
When asked in 2000 Germany took a stand that Kashmir issue should be put in a close box till Afghan Circus is over, he said that there is no such policy.
When asked about the missing tourists among whom one was a German, he refused to comment. “I will not comment on this issue as no Indian will comment on the German issue in Berlin,” Steiner said.