A day ahead of German President Joachim Gauck’s visit, the country’s ambassador, Michael Steiner, on Monday said there should be a quick resolution to the Italian marines’ issue, indicating that this remained a major irritant which could spill over to other areas of ties with the European Union, India’s largest trade partner.
“Italy is a part of the EU, so we are following it closely. It is on one hand a bilateral issue. But of course we think it is in the mutual interest of India, Italy and the EU, if it is solved smoothly, seeing that it has been going on for two years,” Steiner told reporters here.
He noted that Italy’s special envoy, Staffan de Mistura, had taken a realistic approach.
He said it was “time to take it (the Italian marines issue) out of our relationship”. “We have so much to do in Europe. We have so much to do in India. We have so much to do here together,” Steiner said.
The German President will be in India from Tuesday to Sunday, during which he will visit Delhi and Bangalore.
Steiner noted that this was the first visit by a German President to an Asian country and that it had a special significance. Gauck, who was one of the leaders of the anti-communist movement in former East Germany, will be meeting the President, Prime Minister, Vice-President, UPA chairperson and the leader of the Opposition. Besides, he will also meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, for whom it will be the first meeting with a visiting foreign head of state.