M A I N   N E W S

Reforms to continue, says PM
Manmohan Singh arrives in London
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

London, September 19
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, arrived here today on the first leg of his nine-day visit to the UK and the USA.

Earlier, on board the PM’s special aircraft Dr Manmohan Singh, while talking to newspersons described his first visit to the West after assuming office as a “Voyage of discovery” and “Essay in mutual comprehension”.

To that, he could have added “continuity with change”. The Prime Minister sent out a clear message that despite a change in the government in New Delhi, India would honour the commitments made by the previous regime and carry forward the process of strengthening its relations with the USA and Pakistan.

He made it amply clear that there was no going back on economic reforms.

The new government may introduce correctives to get them a ‘human face’ but the reform process is firmly on track.

Dr Manmohan Singh will hold out this assurance of ‘continuity’ to US President George Bush and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf when he meets them on the margins of the UN General Assembly session during his week long stay in New York.

The same message will also be conveyed in his talks with the members of the business community who will be told that India welcomes foreign investment.

In the case of Pakistan, Dr Manmohan Singh will reiterate India’s commitment to carry forward the on-going dialogue. The fact that India has stuck to the timetable for the composite dialogue as set out by the previous government was testimony to India’s sincerity in discussing all outstanding issues with Pakistan.

However, to this, he added a rider: “Pakistan must ensure that cross-border terrorism is firmly under control.” “That precondition remains”, Dr Manmohan Singh said, adding, he would convey New Delhi’s keenness to improve relations with Islamabad in his first informal interaction with the Pakistan President slated for September 24.

As far as his meeting with Mr Bush on September 21, Dr Manmohan Singh said on his part he would convey his government’s intentions to consolidate on its ties with the USA. “We carry forward and build on commitments made by the previous regime”.

This reiteration became necessary given the composition the UPA government which is dependent on the support of the Left parties and whose position “on US imperialism and foreign investment is well known”.

Dr Manmohan Singh will constantly seek to drive home the point that strengthening ties with the USA was a key priority of his government.

Earlier before leaving for the tour the Prime Minister in Delhi said: “This year’s session of the General Assembly is taking place against the background of multifarious threats and challenges facing the international community. Central to this process is reform of the United Nations and the restriction of the Security Council.

“We will make our case for India’s candidature as an permanent member of the UN Security Council which is gaining increasing international support.”

On his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, Dr Singh said it would consolidate a strong and historic relationship.

India and Britain would sign a joint declaration tomorrow. “The firm determination of both our countries to carry forward our relations will be reflected in a joint declaration on the conclusion of our talks,” Dr Singh said.


Manmohan uses helicopter to avoid traffic jams
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 19
Sticking to his earlier decision of not causing inconvenience to people of the Capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today again flew by an IAF helicopter from Safdarjung Airport to Indira Gandhi International Airport to depart for his nine-day trip to the UK and the USA.

Dr Singh, who had similarly used the same route on his first official visit abroad in July to attend the Bimstec summit in Thailand, went to Safdarjung Airport to avoid causing traffic snarls at major roads of the capital, official sources said.

As a consequence, the formal departure ceremony was held at his official residence at 7, Race Course Road, instead of the IGI Airport.

During his departure last time for Bangkok, some Union Ministers had reached international airport to bid him farewell due to lack of information.

The Prime Minister’s residence is just about 2 km from Safdarjung Airport, where the IAF choppers were stationed.

At today’s ceremony, among those present were UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh, Shivraj Patil, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ram Vilas Paswan, Chandrasekhar Rao, Santosh Mohan Deb, S. Jaipal Reddy, Kapil Sibal, T. R. Baalu, P. R. Kyndiah, Sis Ram Ola and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. The three service chiefs and top officials were also present.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |