|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
August 30, 2000
PM's US tour rescheduled on medical advice
Amberish K Diwanji in New Delhi
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's weak health has forced him to reschedule his visit to the United States.
As per the new schedule, the prime minister will postpone his departure to New York by two days and skip the San Francisco leg of the trip. He will now depart on September 7.
According to a press release from the ministry of external affairs, the rescheduling was done on the advice of doctors.
Vajpayee has been suffering from various ailments, most particularly from a serious knee ailment. The knee ailment, whose details are a closely guarded secret, makes it difficult for Vajpayee to stand for long or walk long distances.
The press statement added that the prime minister's programme from September 8, when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly's Millennium Summit, remains unchanged.
From New York, Vajpayee will proceed to Washington DC. The press release further said that no changes are envisaged in the prime minister's programme in Washington DC in the context of his official visit to the US.
This means that the prime minister's address to the joint session of Congress on September 14 and his meeting with US president Bill Clinton on September 15 are on course.
However, the prime minister's office is busy pruning down his private and non-official engagements in the US to the bare minimum. This means that many functions and gala events planned by members of the Indian community and by other prominent institutions are likely to be dropped.
Another casualty of the prime minister's delayed departure will be the planned bilateral meetings at the UN. Heads of state or government of many other nations are also expected at the UN for the Millennium Summit and the ministry of external affairs was busy arranging bilateral meetings between Vajpayee and other top leaders.
Now many of the meetings will have to rescheduled while a few may have to be cancelled.
"Most bilateral meetings will take place since the prime minister will now be in New York from September 8 to 12, giving him sufficient time to meet the leaders he was expected to meet on September 6 and 7. Only those leaders who have left New York cannot be met but most leaders do stay on for a few days extra," pointed out senior officials in the ministry of external affairs.
In flying directly from New York to Washington DC, a shorter journey, the prime minister gains extra time and the tour becomes less strenuous.
Vajpayee cut short his visit to Nagpur last weekend, where he had gone to attend the Bharatiya Janata Party's executive meeting, due to his knee problem. His doctors had advised him to fly back to Delhi and take some much-needed rest.
There is also some speculation that Vajpayee may address the Millennium Summit sitting on a chair, rather than standing at the podium. Special arrangements may be made for the Indian prime minister to make his address sitting.
The San Francisco leg of the prime minister's visit was primarily to interact with Indians and non-resident Indians based in Silicon Valley and appeal to them to invest in India's information technology infrastructure and development. Politically, it was the least important part of the US visit, besides being a huge distance away from New York and Washington DC. Hence, it was the most expendable part of the tour, though the decision is bound to disappoint the Indian community on the West Coast.
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK