NEW DELHI: Days after German minister Annalena Baerbock stirred controversy by advocating for United Nations’ engagement in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Germany’s envoy to India Philipp Ackermann said that the bilateral path is the way forward and that the world body has a very limited role to play in this matter.

Ackermann emphasised that there is no change in Germany’s position on the Kashmir issue.

Speaking to ANI on the German foreign minister’s remarks he said, “First of all I must say we are quite surprised by the reactions by the Indian side and also Indian media, Indian public has reacted very strongly. I at this point don’t let me exegetical at minister’s words but I would like to say to you that the German position on Kashmir has not changed.”

“Minister has underlined in her statement that the bilateral path is the way forward, direct talks speaking to the neighbour is the way forward. When she referred to the UN, there is a small mission in Kashmir with a very special and limited mandate and that’s where we see the UN in Kashmir. For us it’s very important to say that the German position has not changed.”

“We see that bilateral path is the way forward,” the German envoy to India said.

Recently in Islamabad, speaking at a joint press conference with Pakistani foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto, the German foreign minister said, “Germany also has a role and responsibility with regard to the situation of Kashmir. Therefore, we support intensively the engagement of the United Nations to find a peaceful solution in the regions.”

India reacted strongly to the statement and said “All serious and conscientious members of the global community have a role and responsibility to call out international terrorism, especially of a cross-border nature. The Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has borne the brunt of such a terrorist campaign for decades. This continues till now. Foreign nationals have been victims there, as also in other parts of India. The UN Security Council and FATF are still pursuing Pakistan-based terrorists involved in the horrific 26/11 attacks.”

When asked whether remarks made by German foreign will have a negative impact on the bilateral relations, the German ambassador to India said, “I hope it hasn’t actually and that is why I want to make a statement very clearly that the foreign minister had no intention to stir any problems with relations, I think we feel India is a huge partner, big friend of Germany.”

Speaking about the position India has taken on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and on Wednesday’s UN resolution to condemn Russia’s attempts to annex four regions of Ukraine in which India abstained, Ackermann said, “First of all have to say it was quite a success yesterday we had 143 votes condemning the eastern Ukrainian regions by Russia that’s a very good success. We have seen 35 abstentions among them India but we have very carefully listened to Indian representative in the UN said and there find a very clear statement by the Indian government. I think that shows there is also a concern on the Indian side on what is happening in Ukraine.”

Recently the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranked India as the fastest-growing economy for the year 2022. Speaking on the trend German envoy said, “We are very impressed with the latest figures India has put on the table, one of the best-growing countries in the region if not worldwide and that has also give us the huge opportunity to invest in India so I think that’s a huge opportunity for us and also Indian business in Germany” (ANI)