Jaipur, March 11 (IANS) Stressing that Germany has not criticised India’s position on Ukraine, the German Ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner told IANS that the German government has not put any pressure on India or any other country to take sides on the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. “Every country has the right to decide its position,” he added.
He however stressed that no country has the right to invade a neighbouring one with a massive army, impose its will, change borders and cause death and destruction. “The world cannot be expected to take it lying down,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), Lindner asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had spun a false narrative and used it as an excuse to invade Ukraine. “The question of NATO membership for Ukraine was not even on the table. By the way, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, most East European countries wanted to join the European Union and NATO out of their free will. It is not that NATO was forcing them to. Putin cannot mould history as per his will and expect no repercussions by invading a sovereign country in this day and age. Also, attacking another country cannot be a way to solve a border dispute.”
Optimistic that the harsh sanctions imposed on Russia were bound to affect it deeply, the ambassador said that considering Germany is the powerhouse in Europe and a major Russian energy consumer, its participation gives the sanctions more teeth. “We decreased our dependence on Russian oil and gas several years back when Putin annexed Crimea. Now, Nord Stream 2 has been stopped and by the end of the year, energy imports from there will be further decreased. Yes, this would mean looking at alternate sources and also investing more in renewable sources of energy.”
Considering the fact that Germany has been decommissioning nuclear plants at a rapid pace after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan (2011), the ambassador said that the same had to be done in order to ensure that such a disaster did not take place in Germany. “As I said before, we would be focussing on renewable energy and other sources for our energy needs.”
Talk to him about the refugee crisis and the willingness of many countries to take in fleeing Europeans, much unlike Syrian refugees, and he pointed out, “For most European countries, this is a war happening very close. Also, let us not forget that Germany took in a huge number of refugees from Syria.”