Indian and German officials focus on cultural ties

25th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

April 25, 2006 , BERLIN - Wrapping up a three-day visit to Germany, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed cultural issues with German parliamentary president Norbert Lammert on Tuesday.

April 25, 2006

BERLIN - Wrapping up a three-day visit to Germany, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed cultural issues with German parliamentary president Norbert Lammert on Tuesday.

Lammert, in a statement, insisted that ties to India were not just based on trade despite India's being this year's partner nation at the Hanover industrial trade fair opened Sunday by Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

India is also the partner country for the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, said Lammert.

"Relations between our countries are thus based upon much more than economic foundations," he said.

But the figures Lammert presented to back up this statement were modest. Just 4,200 Indian students are currently enrolled at German universities, he said, while only 10,000 people in India are studying the German language. India has a population of around a billion people.

A commentary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper poured cold water on the idea of any real cultural exchange between both countries.

"From a cultural standpoint both nations don't have much to say to each other," said the paper. "Indian myths and ideas may have inspired German poets and philosophers but there's nothing going in the other direction."

Indians, as far as they look beyond the subcontinent, see themselves as part of the Anglo-Saxon world, lamented the Frankfurter Allgemeine.

"Young people in Germany may amuse themselves with Bollywood kitsch and Indian music - but young Indians regard Germany as a foreign country from which no more impulses are coming," the paper said.

Singh is departing Germany on Wednesday and is due to make a stop in Uzbekistan on his way home.

DPA

Subject: German News

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