India, Germany close to resolving German language row

India and Germany are close to resolving the sticky German language issue, a row that had injected a bit of sourness in bilateral ties last year.

Berlin: India and Germany are close to resolving the sticky German language issue, a row that had injected a bit of sourness in bilateral ties last year.

An announcement on the resolution of the issue is likely to be made during Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to India in October.

The issue figured prominently during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's meeting here today with her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeir and both sides discussed contours of a resolution.

As per the broad understanding between the two sides, India will continue to teach German as an additional language while Germany will promote Indian languages including Sanskrit in their educational institutions.

"We are almost close to resolution of the issue. Both sides hope to make the announcement during Chancellor Angela Merkel's upcoming visit to India," official sources told PTI.

They said both sides were happy that the issue is being resolved.

"Basically what we have said all along is that we will continue to teach German as an additional language in keeping with our three language policy. So we will continue to do that. In Germany, they will promote Indian languages including Sanskrit," said the sources.

The Human Resource Development Ministry had in November decided to discontinue teaching of German as an alternative to Sanskrit and cited "national interests" for its decision.

Germany had criticised the decision and the issue was also raised by Merkel during her meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Brisbane in November last year. Modi had assured her at that time that his government will look into the matter and try to work out an amicable solution.

Sanskrit was introduced as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalaya Schools on the basis of a memorandum of understanding signed between the KVS and the Goethe Institute in 2011.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit here in April, both sides had agreed to encourage the teaching of each other's languages within the framework of their national policies.

Merkel will visit India in the first half of October for the inter-governmental consultation. She will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising a number of ministers, government officials and top executives of a number of leading German companies.

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