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German envoy Steiner caps a language row

German Ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, does things quite differently which makes him a media delight. Though he nearly found himself into the middle of a controversy recently, he successfully capped it drawing on his skills as a learned lawyer- turned- judge turned diplomat.

Steiner virtually walked the tight rope when HRD Minister Smriti Irani scrapped a 2011 treaty between Kendriya Vidyalayas and the Goethe Institute. He was hard put to ensure that German   language was not removed as the third language for students in state- run schools. Irani sought to replace German with Sanskrit but Steiner managed to cap the row for a year which was nothing short of a diplomatic coup.

Steiner first got his Chancellor Angela Merkel to raise the issue with Indian premier Narendra Modi at the G 20 summit in Australia, and then met the officials of the Sanskrit Vidyapeeth and even the RSS ideologue Dinanath Batra.

The German envoy climaxed his efforts when he got India’s renowned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to give a religious discourse on “universal brotherhood” on his 65th birthday at his residence which he observed with a difference by holding a Sat Sangh, inviting scholars, academics, social figures and politicians.


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