German language row: Michael Steiner says the controversy should never have happened


By NewsGram Staff Writer

The German unease with Indian government’s response to the language controversy is now out in the open.

German Ambassador Michael Steiner made his position on the matter clear by telling a journalist that the issue could have been handled better and wished that it had never happened.

Steiner’s remarks, made during his farewell on Thursday night, may not go down well the Indian dispensation. HRD Smriti Irani has already expressed her displeasure over Steiner’s direct interference in matters of internal governance.

After Smriti Irani lodged her protests over Steiner speaking openly to media on the issue, talks between the German Embassy and HRD ministry had broken down last year.

Now it has been revealed that the MEA had summoned Germany’s deputy chief of mission last year to register its dissatisfaction over the media interactions.

The issue of Steiner’s letter dated November 11 to Irani seeking “clarification” was also brought up by the MEA during the diplomatic interactions, making it known that the issue was an “internal matter”.

Apart from making the contentious remarks, Steiner also said that he had witnessed some major political and economic changes in India during his term.

“It is in this residence that EU and then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi met to break ice,” Steiner said while recalling the lunch organised by him for Modi.

Steiner also regretted that he could not facilitate a meeting between Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year when the Indian PM was enroute to Brazil.