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HomeDiplomacyIndia-China tensions ‘highly dangerous’ for the world, says German envoy Walter Lindner

India-China tensions ‘highly dangerous’ for the world, says German envoy Walter Lindner

In the context of Indo-Pacific region, Walter J. Lindner tells ThePrint there is no way that ‘bully or hegemonic countries’ should have their way. 

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New Delhi: The tension building between India and China since May at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh is “highly dangerous” for the world and both sides need to “ease” it, said German Ambassador to India Walter J. Lindner.

In an interview to ThePrint, the German envoy said India and China are the two “biggest countries on the planet” that are standing against each other, which does not augur well for the world.

“We are worried… It’s the two biggest nations on the planet that are standing opposite each other. There’s not only 1.4 billion people on both sides, but they are also nuclear powers. It’s the elephant and the dragon,” Lindner told ThePrint.

The German envoy added, “It’s best if the elephant and dragon sit together and find solutions to this. It’s very highly dangerous. It’s not something that should be taken light-heartedly. But we have some confidence on both sides that there should be some politicians who take into account and take necessary steps to ease tensions.”

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since May this year. On 15 June, for the first time in the last 45 years, troops on both sides of the LAC in Ladakh had a violent face-off, which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers.

Fresh clashes once again broke out on the intervening night of 29 August and 30 August as well as on 31 August.

Linder said: “I am hoping they find ways to ease the tensions. With a clash and confrontation there, this is of no interest to anybody and it has the danger of becoming a bigger conflict and the last thing we need in this world is more conflicts. We need less conflicts and that’s why we need to do all we can to help get this number down,” he added.

Also read: China must adhere to our pacts for peace along LAC, for ties to grow, says Jaishankar

‘Bully countries shouldn’t have their way’

Earlier this week, Germany became the second country after France to unveil a specific policy on their Indo-Pacific strategy. 

It was released by their foreign minister Heiko Maas on 2 September after the German cabinet adopted the German government’s policy guidelines on the Indo-Pacific region.

Earlier this week, Maas made it clear to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was on a trip to Europe, that his country and others in the region will not tolerate any “threats” and expect “respect” from international partners. 

“We did not beat around the bush when he (Chinese foreign minister) was visiting Europe. We had made it clear what our opinion was. The language was very clear,” he said.

According to the German envoy, although Berlin’s Indo-Pacific strategy is not aimed at any one country, it will also give out a signal to “bully and hegemonic” countries that they will have to follow a rule-based international order.

“The Indo-Pacific region has become important economically and politically for several reasons. It’s a place where almost half of the world’s population and 40 per cent of the global GDP is produced. You have challenges also here — you have nuclear powers here from India to Pakistan, to China, North Korea and others, you have border disputes and a lot of other challenges,” he stressed.

“We need rules-based multilateral cooperation. There is no way that bully countries or hegemonic countries should have their way. The stronger should not have their way. It’s important to have rules in the Indo-Pacific region, which are based on international agreements and be democratic like India and others,” he asserted.

However, he did mention that China is a “huge factor” in world politics and in the economy.

“One has to talk, one has to talk with each other than about each other… With China, we have rivalry in political systems. We are not enemies but rivals, competitors in our political systems, we have different systems, but it doesn’t prevent us from trading,” he said.

Germany, which is presently holding the EU’s presidency, also plans to hold a EU-China summit.

Also read: India has military options to deal with China if border talks fail, says CDS Bipin Rawat

‘Germany is facing repercussions as a trading nation’

According to Lindner, who was the state secretary to the Federal Foreign Office in Germany before coming to India, the increasing challenges and rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific is impacting Germany as well.

“We, as Germany, feel the repercussions of all of these as we are one of the main trading nations… This strategy is an expression of diversification. We have to have a multipolar system where not one ruler dominates the area just because they are big. It’s not directed against any nation,” he said. 

Lindner highlighted the need to have alternative supply chains after the pandemic and that countries now cannot afford to depend on only one country.

“The pandemic showed our dependence on global supply chains and we have to reduce our dependence on just one country or countries. We have to open up. That’s what India is also doing. We need to diversify our supply mechanisms. The pandemic has highlighted how much we depend on each other, on free trade and on a stable environment,” he added.

Countries such as Japan, Australia, India as well as the ASEAN region are working out a minilateral, or small groupings of like-minded countries, to establish their own supply chain networks, with an objective to bypass China. 

“The world has 90 per cent of trade on ships, that’s why it’s important to keep the (shipping) line open and free them from piracy and other threats,” Lindner added.

Also read: Ready to work with India to enhance trust, manage differences & safeguard ties, says China


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  1. “India and China have been locked in a border standoff since May this year. On 15 June, for the first time in the last 45 years, troops on both sides of the LAC in Ladakh had a violent face-off, which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers.”. Please help me see that portion of the article where casualties on the Chinese side are mentioned.

  2. It is widely believed across the Chinese political circles that Indian aggression in the region is generally triggered by China’s support to Pakistan. India’s increasing inclination and reliance on the US has resulted in a heightened aggressive regional outlook of Prime Minister Modi.

  3. The Print does not want to say Germany said bullies like China should not lecture and pontificate democracies like India, Sweden, Norway and other European nations. Bully like China should follow international rules based order and respect agreements signed in the past with other nations. The Print along with its sister publication Global times will not publish such information as it is offensive to their CCP masters.

    • Kindly engage your Brahmin mind, and do not get carried away and equate India with Sweden, Norway and other European nations.

      Those countries do not rule their citizens with the gun as in Kashmir or have active govt. programmes to persecute minorities. They do not pass laws discriminating on religion. They do not have a system where an elected govt. reports to an unelected paramilitary body, the RSS.

      India is in fact more like China.

    • India is a flawed democracy. Actually it is a sham democracy. Our human rights record is bad. Look at what our govt did to Kashmiris due to 370 abrogation. Did our country not bully migrants during the Covid lockdown?

      On the business side also government can be a bully. Did our country not bully small businesses by demonetisation and GST ? Don’t we have to pay bribes to govt officials to get anything done even if we want to do it legally?

      Western democracies will not aid India on the ground in case war breaks out. They will only want us to buy their arms and lecture us to have talks.

  4. Lindner is a German Nazi who attended a RSS meeting to ‘gain an understanding’.

    Lindner should ask the Indian govt. why it follows RSS which praised Hitler.

    As for diversification of supply chains, virtually nobody re-located to India. The companies that moved from China moved to Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia..

    India is not an attractive destination any more. The only people investing are people like Facebook who have a large market for hate messages (the Hindus have nothing better to do). You have uneducated people people ruling who are more interesting in showing off Hinduism, yoga, gobar, beating up minorities etc. The economy nose dived after demonetisation and Covid has flattened it.

    One cannot blame China alone for the confrontation. Amit Shah said he would capture Aksai Chin. That induced China to give India a beating. The ‘Hindu nationalists’ have problems with everyone including Hindu Nepal.

  5. The real headline is “Walter J. Lindner tells ThePrint there is no way that ‘bully or hegemonic countries’ should have their way.”
    But The Print (which is a Chinese portal) buries it deep in the text.

  6. India should sign an FTA with the EU. Join first RCEP then TPP. Live up to the role many expect it to play in the Indo – Pacific.

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