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Buoyed by peace constituency, Germany mulling to invest in Kashmir

Germany, an important constituent of the European Union, is mulling to invest in Kashmir "as the state is showing signs of improvement and yearning for peace."

india Updated: Jul 02, 2013 20:35 IST
Peerzada Ashiq
Peerzada Ashiq
Hindustan Times

Germany, an important constituent of the European Union, is mulling to invest in Kashmir "as the state is showing signs of improvement and yearning for peace."

"If you look at the overall scenario, security situation is much better in comparison with 90s (when armed rebellion broke out in Kashmir). Secondly, what is important is to see the spirit of the Kashmiris, who want peace. That is the overall feeling you get wherever you are in Kashmir," said Michael Steiner, German ambassador to India.

He was speaking on the sidelines of his lecture 'The valley and the globe - Opportunities for young Kashmiris' at Kashmir University on Tuesday.

Of late, the European Union (EU) interest in Kashmir is growing. The EU, which has set up a special group the All-Party Group on Kashmir, has frequently held special sessions on human rights issues, including the unmarked graves. It is also in touch with separatists like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who heads a moderate faction of the Hurriyat.

"Germany's position on Kashmir has not changed. We recognise fully the legitimate institutions here. We want to help Kashmir economically and in institution building," said Steiner.

Germany was among the first few EU countries to revise the travel advisory for Kashmir in 2011.
The ambassador said his government did not revise any travel advisory following the hanging of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

"We have eased the restrictions, of course tourists need to be careful, but we stick to this easing and we are watching the situation in interest of the German tourists coming to Kashmir," he said.

Buoyed by change in Kashmir, Germany is now mulling investments. "We are having discussions on modules and places where foreign investment can be brought in Kashmir."

He said Germany has already discussed the issue of investment with chief minister Omar Abdullah.

"There are enough possibilities and Kashmiris are eager to welcome investment," he said. "Investor has to respect the security regulations in some areas where it will not be advisable to go. We have to respect the decision from the Indian side," he added.

The ambassador said, "The more economy we get in Jammu and Kashmir, the better and more secure the place will be."

Germany is planning to engage youth from Kashmir. "Kashmir need not be object of globalisation but to be subject of globalisation. They need not to abandon homeland but to connect it (with the outside world)," said Steiner, while advising students to join German universities.

German envoy condoles deaths of youths killed in army firing

Srinagar: German ambassador to India Michael Steiner on Tuesday expressed condolences to the victim families of two youth killed in the army firing in north-eastern Kashmir's Bandipora district recently.

"I pay my respect to those who lost their lives on Sunday in Kashmir and express my heartfelt condolences to their families," said Steiner.

The German ambassador had to cancel his Kashmir University lecture on Monday in the wake of disturbances and shutdown.

Two youths were killed on Sunday morning in an army firing during a pre-dawn operation.

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