You need India to save this climate: German Ambassador to India

On the first working day of new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Walter J Lindner, the Ambassador of Germany to India, said that nothing can be done without India on the front of green energy and climate change.

Speaking with reporters in Mumbai on Thursday, Lindner said, “There are a lot of things to be done and I think nothing can be done without India. You need India to save this climate because every fifth person on this planet is an Indian,” Lindner said.

Lindner hoped that the new government would start consultation with the Indian government in the next six months on various subjects.

“We will see we have good chemistry,” Lindner said while interacting with reporters in Mumbai.

“PM Modi has already congratulated the new Chancellor and looking forward to the first meeting. I think we will have our government-to-government consultations in the first half of 2022. This time the Indian Cabinet will come to Germany,” he added.

The first ever coalition government in Germany took oath on Wednesday night.

Lindner said the new German government will be more forthcoming on the subject of climate change. He pointed that former Chancellor Angela Merkel had stopped 28 working nuclear plants arguing that it was ethically not responsible to run them.

“The new government, which has Green Party in it, will be even more forthcoming. This (climate change) is one of the most challenging questions,” Lindner said.

Lindner, however, refused to comment on the three party coalition government’s plan to legalise marijuana. “Can I postpone this question until I read the coalition treaty to know the reasons behind it?” he said.

Support for India

Lindner said Germany has plans to spend 90 per cent of its fund of Euro 1.2 million on climate change.

“We are financing metros in Mumbai, Nagpur and Kochi. We might do something in Surat too,” Lindner said.

He praised the e-rickshwas in Delhi which have played a role in reducing carbon emission. “This is how you get CO2 out from the road,” he said.

Appreciating India’s role in moon mission, information technology and artificial intelligence, Lindner said, “It is not poor India but highly educated India. Every nation like ours and yours has to chip to cooperate.”

Mumbai connection

Lindner pointed that Chancellor Scholz had visited Mumbai in 2012 as a Mayor of Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany after capital Berlin.

“He had a photograph in front of Taj Mahal Palace. He had come for a harbour to harbor cooperation,” he said.

When asked about the status of the cooperation between Mumbai and Hamburg, Lindner said, “It was 10 years ago. I have to find out status of the progress.”

Lindner called Scholz a fight person in the job (of Chancellor) after Angela Merkel stepped down after 16 years. “Even the opposition says Angela Markel was an icon. She did a lot of things for Germany as a woman leader, being modest, being a man explaining world. She was always making point without shouting. That was her legacy. She was a crisis manager, of course.. crisis internationally and in the European Union,” Lindner said.

Drawing a parallel between Merkel and Scholz, the Ambassador said, “The new Chancellor is a very experienced guy. He was Mayor of Hamburg. The people from Hamburg are like people from here (Mumbai). They don’t talk much. Merkel was also like this. He is also calm and conversation maker. First after 16 years, it’s big shoes (to be in of Merkel) but he already has some reputation. Very soon he will show that he is the right person (in the job).”

Inviting Bollywood

Walter Lindner said he is going to suggest 10 “absolutely breathtaking locations” in Germany to producers and actors in Bollywood for shooting their films.

“They go to Switzerland, Paris and London. Of late, they were in Budapest, Hungary. I will give ideas to Bollywood on 10 locations in Germany. I recommend the producers and actors to consider Germany also. We will give them all the details on how the government makes life easy for them. It’s about creating more interest in German locations,” Lindner said.

Lindner also said that Germany is interested in funding restoration of heritage sites in Maharashtra. “It is an early stage. We have asked the experts on what is on their list of restoration,” he said.

Lindner indicated that Germany could fund for restoration of garden, museum, synagogue, fort or library.

“We need a list of objects. I have to convince my government that they give money. There are several options. We will see which fit in our budget,” he said.

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