Debating India

India ready to make overseas investments

Monday 6 June 2005, by PRASAD*K.V.

Foreign missions must market India: Kalam

- President sets high target for trade

- Met industrialists in Switzerland, Iceland

- Gave presentations on CARTOSAT

NEW DELHI: Stating that India was prepared to make overseas investments, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said it was time that its missions marketed the country as an economic power and a knowledge society with a rich cultural heritage.

"During my visit I said that India is not just seeking investments but the important point is that we are also ready to invest wherever there is protection. We focussed [on] India as [an] economic, technical and knowledge power," Mr. Kalam said, summing up the thrust of his tour to Russia, Switzerland, Iceland and Ukraine that ended on Saturday.

Besides agreements in science and technology and outer space research, the visit witnessed the President setting high targets for trade between India and these countries. He also met industrialists in Switzerland and Iceland.

Follow-up measures

In an interaction with correspondents on the special flight, Air India-1, on the way home from Kyiv, Ukraine, Mr. Kalam said he would initiate follow-up measures with the respective Ministries to take the process forward.

"My vision is to make India a strong and developed nation before 2020 and the leaders whom I met liked it," he said. He emphasised that Indian missions should market the country, its economy, technical prowess and rich culture. He always gave this message to Indian Ambassadors who called on him.

Mr. Kalam also did his bit to demonstrate the technical achievements of Indian scientists and to market them. He showed what the latest satellite, CARTOSAT, could do by presenting three-dimensional stereo images of the Swiss Alps to Switzerland and gave images of Kyiv city to Ukraine. He also gave a demonstration in Iceland, which sought assistance in mapping its glacial and volcanic mountains.

Youth satellite

He suggested that India and Russia float a "Youth Satellite" to enable people round the globe to establish contacts with each other. Other suggestions included advanced studies for convergence of info-bio-nano technology for the betterment of humanity, pharmaceuticaland earthquake research, cooperation with the prestigious Geneva-based nuclear institute and studies to improve the efficiency of solar cells from the present 15 to 50 per cent.

Overall, Mr. Kalam expressed satisfaction over the level of exchange, both at the political and academic level.

Throughout the trip, he met with the scientific community and attended a briefing on disaster management by Swiss specialists.

Even though he kept a hectic pace and packed his day with engagements, he allotted a task to the politicians accompanying him. He told Telugu Desam Party MP, N.P. Durga, and Congress MP, Milind Deora, to tell him about their impressions and what they learnt on the fortnight-long trip.

In fact, Ms. Durga, who had carried preparatory notes on each country, told The Hindu that she had submitted her worksheet just before deplaning.

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