Saturday, September 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

US Diary
Specialists to examine PM in New York

NEW YORK: “Will you address the UN General Assembly sitting or standing?” a newsman asked Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee aboard Air-India Boeing 747 during a technical halt at Zurich (Switzerland).

“Standing, of course,” a beaming Prime Minister answered, nonchalantly.

“How are you feeling?” another newsman fired the question.

“I’m feeling fine,” prompt came the reply.

Mr Vajpayee spent just a few minutes with the media party accompanying him to New York and Washington. Wearing a fawn-colour Pathani dress, he looked rested, though the state of his health, especially his knee problem is a topic of animated discussion here.

As per the printed programme of his engagements, it is clear that three days (Sunday to Tuesday) in New York have been practically kept free from any official commitment for the Prime Minister. Apparently, he will utilise this period to consult some specialists in New York.


The Little Book issued by the protocol division of the External Affairs Ministry giving the details of the Prime Minister’s programme along with the names of delegates and journalists makes an interesting reading for certain missing names and wrong designations of the media community.

“How can the protocol division mess up such small matters? For, protocol demands that it should be well informed and correct with facts,” a journalist remarked.

He is right. But then, slackness these days is part of the drift.


Since the people have the right to know, I am giving below the names of some of the delegates as figuring in the Little Book:

Composition of party: 
Prime Minister
Shri Ranjan Bhattacharya
Official delegation:
Shri Jaswant Singh, External Affairs Minister;
Shri Yashwant Sinha, Finance Minister;
Dr Najma Heptulla, Deputy Chairperson, Rajya Sabha (for Washington);
Shri Naresh Chandra, Ambassador of India to USA;
Shri Brajesh Mishra, Principal Secretary to PM;
Shri Lalit Mansingh, Foreign Secretary;
Shri N.K. Singh, Secretary to PM;
Shri Ashok Kumar Basu, Secretary, Ministry of Power;
Shri Shyamal Ghosh, Secretary, Dept of Telecom;
Shri Prabir Sengupta, Commerce Secretary;
Shri H.K. Dua, Press Adviser to PM;
Shri Kamlesh Sharma, India’s Permanent Representative to UN;
Shri T.P. Sreenivasan, Dy Chief of Mission.


While overflying the territories of as many as 13 countries during his arduous 22-hour journey from New Delhi to New York, the Prime Minister made it a point to send messages to the Heads of Government, including the Chief Executive of Pakistan, Gen Pervez Musharraf. The one-line message to the General was both curt and courteous. It said: “I take this occasion to convey my best wishes for the progress and well-being of the people of Pakistan”.

The message is clear: behave first, talks later.


How come the International Herald Tribune’s editorial personnel failed to identify India’s External Affairs Minister? The AP photo published on Thursday (September 7) simply said in its caption: “Chelsea Clinton, the President’s daughter, being greeted Wednesday by an unidentified delegate as the UN Millennium Summit opened in New York”.

This “ignorance” must have come as a shock to Mr Jaswant Singh’s fans. This was a hot topic of discussion among the mediapersons travelling with the Prime Minister.

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