German Chancellor Angela Merkel on November 1 expressed concern for the people of Kashmir and said that the lockdown of the region cannot be supported for long. The German leader's comments came hours after India and Germany agreed to work on bilateral and multilateral platforms to counter terrorism and extremism.
"The situation now for the people (in Kashmir) is not good and not sustainable. This has to be improved for sure," said Ms. Merkel to a group of German journalists who travelled to Delhi for the visit. Officials said developments in Kashmir were not part of the bilateral delegation-level talks held at Hyderabad House, but that Ms. Merkel expected to hear from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the government's road map for J&K during her formal dinner on November 1 night.
The German leader who is on a three-day visit sealed 17 MoUs and five Joint Declarations of Intent covering a wide range of issues including agriculture, education, marine science and heritage conservation.
"We will intensify bilateral and multilateral cooperation to deal with threats like terrorism and extremism. We are grateful to Germany for its strong support to India's membership in export control regimes and various international forums," said Mr. Modi in his formal press statement at the Hyderabad House. The reference to terrorism is significant as India has been insisting that the lockdown in Kashmir was necessitated because of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.
A Joint Statement issued after official consultation expressed firm opposition to international terrorism and urged the global community to act against safe havens and sanctuaries of terrorists saying that both sides oppose terrorism in all its “forms and manifestations”.
Both sides signed Memoranda of Understanding covering cooperation in space research, marine ecology preservation, agriculture, Artificial Intelligence and other areas. An MoU was signed between India’s National Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art, the Indian Museum, Kolkata, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Stiftung Humboldt Forum in Berliner Schloss. Another agreement was signed between the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V.