Did not know about EU members' J&K visit: German envoy

Members of European Union Parliamentary delegation during a shikara ride at Dal Lake in Srinagar, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Protest broke out in many parts of the city as European Union MPs visited the valley. (PTI Photo)

German ambassador to India, Walter J Lindner, on Wednesday said that he had no prior information about the visit of the two politicians of the far-right “Alternative for Germany” party along with 25 other members of European Parliament to India for a visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

“We didn't have any idea that they are coming to India and I know as much as you do,” Lindner said when a journalist asked him if he had any prior information about the visit of the two German MEPs along with others. He was briefing journalists about the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to New Delhi from Thursday to Saturday.

The MEPs had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday and visited Srinagar on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bernhard Zimniok and Lars Lars Patrick Berg of far-right “Alternative for Germany” party were among the visiting MEPs.

“The EU has already said it is a private visit (by the MEPs) and that is our stand (the stand of Embassy of Germany in New Delhi) too,” said Lindner.

Merkel is the first European Head of Government visiting New Delhi after Modi Government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and moved to reorganize the state into two Union Territories.

Asked if Merkel could raise the issue of J&K with Modi, Lindner said that the two leaders had “a very good relationship” and they could talk about any issue. “I do not want to anticipate what the two leaders will be talking about.”

Modi-Merkel meeting on Friday is likely to be followed by the signing of nearly 20 agreements. “The topics of discussions would include artificial intelligence, sustainable development, urban mobility, agriculture and football among others,” said German ambassador to India.

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