Germany said it supports India’s bid for a permanent membership of UNSC (File photo)
JAIPUR: India would make alliances according to its history and neighbourhood, but as a general principle allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to do what he is doing in Ukraine is “dangerous” for all, German Ambassador to India Walter J Lindner has said.
He also called out the United Nations for its “outdated” Security Council structure and said India, the voice of 1.3 billion people, should be there as a permanent member.
“Every country has its own right and its own reasons to make a decision, whether abstention, vote in favour or against, no problem with this,” Lindner told PTI at the sidelines of the 15th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF).
“India of course would make their own alliances according to their history and neighbourhood, we are just saying as a general principle it would be dangerous to allow Putin what he is doing.”
India has abstained during voting on two resolutions on Ukraine in the 15-nation UN Security Council and one in the 193-member UN General Assembly.
According to Lindner, allowing Russia to not respect borders or the UN charter would set a bad precedent for the future and will be a danger for every country.
“…We need to respect borders, we need to respect the UN charter, and if we start allowing one country not to do this because it has a veto right in the UNSC or because it is strong, or because he (Putin) is lying openly. That’s a bad precedent for the future and that’s a danger for every country in the world,” he said.
“That’s why we have so many countries voting against Russia, and even many countries who abstained deep down they would never accept this behaviour of Putin,” he said.
The 65-year-old German diplomat also talked about making reforms in the “outdated” UNSC’s membership to improve it, and said India is in the forefront to do that and has Germany’s full support for its permanent membership.
India is at present one of the 10 non-permanent members of the UNSC.
“The whole situation of Ukraine shows how outdated Security Council memberships are. India, the power of 1.3 billion people, should be there (as a permanent member) … So the system of the UN has to be reformed and it has to start with the Security Council.
“We are very much on the same wavelength as India because if people lose their faith in the UN then that would be a loss because it is the only international global organisation which we have. Rather than saying these are useless people we have to improve it, we have to improve it and India is in the forefront to do that and India has our full support,” he added.
Calling himself a big fan of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, Lindner praised the “civil disobedience” shown by the people of Ukraine and said this just shows how wrong Putin was in miscalculating Ukrainians.
“Putin thought that the Ukrainian people would give up, run away or their military will run away and the population would say: ‘Thank you Putin, you liberated us!'” he remarked. “Nonsense.”
“I wouldn’t say against Russian tanks, Gandhiji’s method would always be successful but we have already seen in Ukraine scenes where civilians, old ladies went in front of tanks and said ‘stop it, stop it, stop it’,” he noted.
The other thing, which according to Lindner, Putin was wrong at, was in his thinking that the world was “totally divided”.
The truth is completely contrary to that, he said.
“In the NATO, the European Union and even the western world, and the rest of the world, if you see 148 states voted against Russia, condemned in clear voices against Russia. So this means a whole big group of world leaders are against such kinds of things so this is a good development but of course before a backdrop of a very tragic situation,” he explained.
The 15th edition of the JLF, which kicked off on ground at Hotel Clarks Amer on Thursday, is being held in hybrid format for the first time since its inception in 2006. It was held virtually from March 5 to 9.
Turkish bestselling novelist Elif Shafak, American writer and 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist Jonathan Franzen, South African novelist and 2021 Booker winner Damon Galgut, Australian author and 2003 Booker winner D.B.C. Pierre, English actor-writer Rupert Everett, and eminent Jamaican poet Kei Miller are among the 250 authors participating in the JLF this year.