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US Senator John Kerry comes calling
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | January 11, 2006 13:10 IST
Last Updated: January 11, 2006 13:14 IST
US Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate who arrives in New Delhi today, is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 4.30 pm. His visit to India is considered a positive pointer to the Indo-US nuclear deal. It is believed that in spite of opposition and unanswered questions vis-ŕ-vis the agreement, both governments are making slow and steady progress in implementing the deal. Attempts are being made by both sides to
According to US embassy sources, Sen Kerry will also meet National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and some Opposition leaders including the Bharatiya Janata Party's L K Advani. Sen Kerry may not meet Congress president Gandhi since she is away in Orissa.
Kerry will also visit Hyderabad and Mumbai.
It is believed that Kerry is in India to learn first hand, India's position on the nuclear separation plan, which is critical to the Indo-US nuclear deal.
According to sources, he may be taken to the Tarapur nuclear power plant near Mumbai, but a US embassy spokesman denied it.
Embassy spokesman David Kennedy said, "I am not aware of such a plan. He is not visiting Tarapur as far as I know."
However, Sen Kerry will be briefed by senior scientists and technocrats of the nuclear establishment, including experts from the Nuclear Power Corporation and the Atomic Energy Commission in Mumbai.
Sen Kerry will address a press conference tomorrow morning before leaving for Hyderabad, where he will meet leaders of the IT industry. In Mumbai, he will meet members of the CEOs Forum, which includes stalwarts like Ratan Tata and Deepak Parekh of HDFC.
Kennedy said, "Sen Kerry has a big role to play in strengthening Indo-US relations, and his visit is important."
Sen Kerry is not the only US politician to visit India.
A group of US Congressmen, including Bobby Jindal, the second Indian American to be elected to the US House of Representatives and the India Abroad Person of the Year 2005, is currently visiting Jaipur.
On Monday, Senator Max Baucus from Montana will be in India to meet leading businessmen. That in a span of 10 days more than a dozen powerful Democrats and Republicans will have visited India to know more about Indian business and to get first-hand accounts of India's nuclear separation plan, shows the US's increased interest in India.