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My background helps me: Kalam

K.V. Prasad


  • My mission accomplished
  • Berne has its own views on U.N. reforms
  • Trade with Switzerland will get a boost

    ON BOARD THE PRESIDENTIAL AIRCRAFT: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has said that his basic training as a scientist enables him to execute multiple tasks as the country's foremost representative with ease.

    ``As long as you continue to ask questions, you can play the role of a scientist, politician, technocrat, trade and businessperson,'' Mr. Kalam said during an interaction with correspondents on board the special Air India One flight from Geneva to Rekyjavik. His response came to a question as to how he felt playing these roles in Russia and Switzerland, during the first half his two-week sojourn.

    Mr. Kalam said the mission of his tour of these two countries had been achieved, what with having convinced Moscow to have increased laboratory-to-laboratory and scientist-to-scientist cooperation as well as raise the level of bilateral trade from $3 billions to $25 billions over the next few years. This was in addition to the thrust required to market BrahMos, the missile developed by Russia and India. On the Swiss stand on India's quest for becoming a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Mr. Kalam said Berne had its own view that it was for reforms in the world body itself.

    ``They have their stand on reforms in the U.N. and then comes the Security Council membership. In our view, the Security Council is important... anything will not come just like that,'' Mr. Kalam. However, he felt that trade between the two countries would receive a boost. The President left Geneva after a four-day visit that included travel to Zurich, Laussane and Berne.

    Arrives in Rekyjavik

    Mr. Kalam arrived in Rekyjavik on Sunday, to become the first Indian head of the state to pay an official visit to Iceland. The presidential plane `Tanjore' touched the Keflavik airport at 1500 hours local time (2030 IST) that marked the beginning of the third-leg of his four-nation tour.

    The state visit would begin on Monday when Iceland President Olafur Grimson receives Mr. Kalam and later hold bilateral talks with the Indian delegation. Despite the hectic schedule he had at Russia and Switzerland, the President looked fresh and looked forward to engagements here that includes meetings at various scientific establishments.

    Indo-Icelandic bilateral relations, as a whole, have been friendly but lacked substantive content. Iceland has been generally supportive of India's case at the Security Council. Given the geo-strategic importance of Iceland and its friendly relations with India, New Delhi may consider opening a resident mission here and ascertain from Rekyjavik its intention to reciprocate.

    There were no high level bilateral visits between India and Iceland till President Grimsson paid a visit to India in November 2003. During the visit, Iceland became the first Nordic country to extend support to India's candidature for permanent seat in the Security Council.

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