Monday, August 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM’s foreign trips indicate rejection of Advani’s plan
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
A string of foreign tours is being planned by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the next four to five months which, among other things, indicates his rejection of the Deputy Prime Minister Mr L.K. Advani’s idea of synchronising the coming Assembly elections with the early Lok Sabha elections.

Sources told The Tribune today that Mr Vajpayee is planning to undertake visits to Russia, Indonesia and Malaysia in November-December this year, apart from his customary visit to New York next month for attending the United Nations’ General Assembly session and a scheduled visit to Islamabad in January, 2004 for the SAARC summit.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Russia, being planned for November, will be crucial as several bilateral agreements are expected to be signed in Moscow.

The sources said there was a possibility that the much awaited deal for the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshkov, could be inked during this visit.

This would be Mr Vajpayee’s third visit to Russia this year, reflecting the close relationship between New Delhi and Moscow.

The Prime Minister is also planning to visit two major Muslim countries of South East Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Global efforts in the ongoing war against terrorism and India’s contribution in this area are expected to come up for a review during Mr Vajpayee’s talks with the Indonesian and Malaysian leadership.

It is understood that when the Prime Minister leaves for New York the next month, he may visit a couple of other countries in this trip. Syria and Turkey are being considered as Mr Vajpayee’s possible destinations in his next month’s trip. The political significance of the Prime Minister’s upcoming foreign tours is immense. It clearly shows that the Prime Minister has disfavoured his Deputy’s suggestion of synchronisation of the Assembly poll with early Lok Sabha elections.


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