We won’t follow U.K. in re-engaging with the poll-bound State: envoy

Making it clear that Berlin’s stand remains unchanged, Germany’s Ambassador to India Micheal Steiner has said the country will not follow Britain in re-engaging with Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat or his administration when the State is in the midst of Assembly polls.

(Last week Britain, in a departure from its earlier stand, announced normalisation of ties with Gujarat. It was among the many governments, including the U.S., which boycotted the Gujarat government in the wake of the 2001 communal riots.)

“Our stand remains unchanged. There is a domestic election that will start in Gujarat next month and we don’t want to make any kind of statement on it. Britain had informed us before making their announcement. However, our stand is not affected by the U.K.’s decision,” Mr. Steiner said, on the sidelines of a reception-cum-cultural evening, held in honour of a visiting German business delegation, at the Ambassador’s residence here on Monday.

Hails reforms

Talking about the latest round of reforms unleashed by the Manmohan Singh government, Mr. Steiner said these initiatives changed the investment climate. “The negativity surrounding the investment climate in India has faded as decision-making has once again begun to move in the right direction.”

The decisions allowing foreign direct investment in retail and opening up the aviation sector helped India improve its image and atmosphere of investments, he said. “I am confident about India-Germany bilateral trade taking an upswing and reaching the 20-billion euro mark by the end of this fiscal. The high level 35-member business delegation led by First Mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz is in India to discuss opportunities in renewable energy, port development and environmental technologies. We hope that it would provide a big boost to the business sentiment between the two nations.”

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