Friday, May 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee at home in Bundestag
Tribune News Service

Berlin, May 29
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said he felt at home being in Bundestag (Parliament) and among German parliamentarians having been a parliamentarian for nearly five decades. “‘I only hope you will be kinder to me in your response than my fellow parliamentarians in India when I address them in our Parliament.”


India will be the focus of attention in the historic capital of Berlin in September when the fourth “Asia Pacific Week” is held. To be opened by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at the famous concert hall of Gendarmenmarkt, nearly 200 events will be organised during the fortnight-long festival. This will provide a window to India to showcase the strides made by it in the economic sphere.

The myriad culture of India will also be displayed and preparations for this were on in full swing. Besides traditional Indian art, the spotlight will also be on contemporary art bringing to the fore the diversity. Indian and German businessmen will also have an opportunity to interact with each other. This assumes significance with Indian captains of industry keen to make investment in Germany.


On the trade and economic side, India urged Germany to correct the poor FDI inflow which has apparently dipped due to the economic slowdown. India also expressed concern about the visas and work permits as Germany proposes to come forward with a fresh legislation in this regard. The ministerial level Indo-German Joint Commission which has not met for the past three years is expected to meet in October in New Delhi. The Indian side took up the bilateral matter of Indian bank guarantees not being accepted in Germany. There were discussions on EU-related matters.


Assisting mediapersons at the media centre was Germany’s Iris Kern, an India lover and a follower of Puttaparthi Sathya Sai Baba. The saree-clad Iris, who has been working on the information side in the Indian mission in Berlin, was a bundle of energy and willing to assist mediapersons with relevant information about Germany. Iris, who is fluent in German, English and French, got sucked into spiritualism thanks to her mother who was attracted by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. She also has a certificate to treat people in the field of homoeopathy. Though she hails from Bonn, she shifted to Berlin to work in the Indian Embassy even though the remuneration was much less compared to German standards. Iris says she loves working with Indians as there is less tension at the work place and her colleagues make her feel relaxed and comfortable.

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