The outbound German envoy to Delhi Walter J. Lindner has stated that India can’t be “finger pointed” for importing Russian oil which “every country has various history, different position, dependencies”. Indian commercial traders are significantly trying to get cheap Russian oil as western sanctions are imposed on Moscow in the after-effects of its intrusion of Ukraine. Speaking to WION’s Diplomatic reporter Sidhant Sibal, Envoy Lindner stated, “We in Europe had an extremely strong and big dependence from Russian energy, we still have. What we are doing, is to attempt to lower, reduce, decrease and by end of August we will have no imports of Russian oil. Coal is gone right now”.
He said that India ought to be “welcomed all the time to G7”.
A widely known Indophile, the envoy in the past is a leading German diplomat and Germany’s foreign secretary to India. As his three and half year stint in India ends, he retires quickly.
What is interesting is his first impression of India originated from watching the 1971 “Show for Bangladesh” by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar. The young Walter J. Lindner worked as a truck chauffeur and in McDonald’s to gather cash to go to India. Asked about his love for India, in his last interview as the envoy, he said, “Now I am leaving as an ambassador, but this travel is by no methods over, so it (India) will be location for me for next 20 years and I will return.” He is an experienced artist.
WION: What has been the most tough part of your India tenure?
Walter J. Lindne r: I think the last 3 and a half years for everybody, not only diplomats, reporters, everybody has actually been very various because you understand I arrived in spring 2019 and we had normal diplomatic life, we had the chancellor here, members of the parliament and interaction with many individuals however then came Covid and it eliminated 2 years of interacting with people. It was lockdown, you could not fly, you could not meet individuals.
2 years were gone and then we had Ukraine and which always dominated conversations.
WION: The Indian PM is expected to go to Germany for the G7. How do you see Indian PM Modi’s existence and what will be the essential top priority for the summit?
Walter J. Lindner: I believe it is very crucial that India is there, and currently for a few years, India has been a long-term invitee there. It is essential, given the 1.3 billion people in the nation, the importance of India, it is simply fair that it is there.
A lot of focus will be on the Ukraine crisis. This will be dominating, also the post covid scenario how do we deal with pandemics, how do we make things better in the future and how do we deal with sustainable energy, green economy concern since after we have the restart of the economies.
WION: Do you think India should end up being a permanent member of the G7 in the near future?
Walter J. Lindner: I believe initially, India ought to be a long-term member of the Security Council because that is where it belongs. G7 is a particular group of nations which are established and high developing countries, so I think this is not a question.
The essential thing is at the security council it ought to be an irreversible member and needs to be welcomed all the time to the G7 and after that it will be the president of the G20 next year. This is extremely crucial due to the fact that whatever is gone over at the G7 has an impact on the G20 so if the two presidents, Germany now and India next are in sync then next year I think it will be really valuable for the global advancement.
WION: You pointed out the Russian intrusion of Ukraine. How do you see India’s position, particularly India importing inexpensive Russian petroleum?
Walter J. Lindner: Every country has a various history, various positions, and reliances. We in Europe had an extremely strong and huge dependency on Russian energy, (which) we still have. So, what we are doing, is to attempt to decrease, reduce, minimize and by end of August, we will have absolutely no imports of Russian oil.
Coal is gone right now and then by end of next year, we will have zero imports of Russian gas. So, we do a lot there, however India has much less import from Russia, and I think we need to not finger point India, but rather stress that we have reduced to zero our European dependency on Russian energy and then other countries on the planet will do the exact same.
WION: You are an Indophile, you enjoy India can you tell me about how everything started …
Walter J. Lindner: It started 45 years earlier throughout the hippie time when we in Europe thought about India as a nation where you have spiritual tourist attraction and where you have people totally dedicated to life values and while in the west, we were more into earning money and economy progress. This was the approach 40 years ago.
We had authors Hermann Hesse, his book Siddhartha and after that solidarity concerts which led us European, or western youth to discover India as the travel location. I have actually worked as a taxi driver, truck driver, and at Mcdonald’s simply to get cash to take a trip to India.
40 years ago, I visited India and experienced it for myself. Now I am leaving as an ambassador, but this travel is by no ways over, so it will be a location for me for the next 20 years and I will come back.
WION: And what happens to Amby, the famous red ambassador cars and truck you circumnavigated in Delhi … and your non-diplomatic method of reaching out?
Walter J. Lindner: Amby, as much as I enjoy her, she belongs to India. I would not bring her to the snow of Germany or ice roads. It will remain here however as for what will be her fate in future, I will speak to her and see if my follower gets along well with her. If he does and agrees, he may accompany her. Her will and want. We must ask if she wishes to retire in a cool location here however I believe we need to appreciate her will.
WION: How do you think international geopolitics will change due to the fact that of the Russian intrusion of Ukraine?
Walter J. Lindner: Back in the 90 s when the wall boiled down, there was a duration of 10-20 years … we have now reached a status where things are going better. We have the international development goals, the end of history, no more cold war, Gorbachev, Costs Clinton … we believed things were moving in the right instructions. They were there for a while, however no one anticipated Putin to initiate this unbelievable ruthless war. Now the consequence of this is not good, the peace we had in the early years of the 2000 s– we were investing cash into development, cultural tasks, and rather not into the military.
Subsequently, now lots of nations will spend a lot more money on the military, and this cash is needed for other things which we must fund; (like) climate change, and advancement. This kind of militarisation of global politics is not a great development.
WION: And you believe China can follow in Russia’s actions?
Walter J. Lindner: Well, I do not want to point out a particular country but what is essential to inform Putin is that this is not your success story for you.