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World leaders praise India

Thursday 6 January 2005

JAKARTA: World leaders attending an emergency summit on the Asia tsunami disaster on Thursday praised India and deeply appreciated its quick gesture in rushing immediate relief to affected countries despite its own massive losses at home.

External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, who attended the day-long summit of disaster-hit and donor nations here, said that the Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura had expressed his "deep appreciation" of India for its relief measures in the affected countries.

Words of appreciation were also conveyed by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom during bilateral meetings with Singh, held on the sidelines of the summit.

"Today’s meeting was very successful, business like," he said adding "everybody spoke in concrete terms, nobody minimised the problems and genuine concern was shown."

Singh described his talks with Powell as an ongoing process and said during the meeting Powell had appreciated India’s gesture of rushing relief help to the tsunami-hit countries despite it’s own losses.

Earlier, Singh told the summit that India could deal with challenges that affect the country with its own resources and declared that it would be "appropriate" if international relief is directed where it is most urgently required.

In case India required any specialised needs it would be in touch with its friends, he added.

During his bilateral meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Singh conveyed that the United Nations should be deeply involved in relief work. The two leaders also discussed Iraq and both hoped that the war-torn country would return to normalcy and the forthcoming elections there would be successful.

Singh said he had also expressed his displeasure over a reform panel report by a former Thai minister - Threats, Challenges and Change - where Iraq, Kashmir and North Korea had been singled out. "I told him that it was uncalled for to include Kashmir. We have expressed our views through the Permanent representative in New York. This was not the mandate of the panel," Singh said.

He also made it clear that "there is no question of India sending troops to Iraq." On being invited to visit India, Annan said he would make efforts to come to the country.

Singh said he had also discussed reforms of UN Security Council with Annan and had told him about Russian President Valdamir Putin’s recent visit to India where he had declared that India should be a permanent member in UN with veto power.

Singh also held bilateral talks with leaders from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China, Maldives, Vietnam, Myanmar, Britain and European Union. During his meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister, Singh discussed the warm and strong ties between the two countries and expressed appreciation for Japan’s contribution to the tsunami relief.

Singh met the Foreign Minister of Canada, Pierre Pettigrew, and said that India is awaiting the arrival of the Canadian Minister in New Delhi. The External Affairs Minister also had a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia. Hun Sen emphasised the bilateral friendly ties between the two nations and invited Singh to visit his country.

See online : Times of India

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