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Global crisis may dwarf PM's agenda in New York
Sheela Bhatt in New York | September 23, 2008 23:46 IST
It's not exactly party time at the United Nations General Assembly, where more than 400 world leaders are meeting.
Fearful shadows of the global financial crisis triggered by the failure of financial biggies of US have overtaken headlines in New York.
World leaders, who are in New York for the annual UNGA debate, are talking about the great bailout plan and the depth and breadth of the economic crisis.
Dr Singh arrives in New York around lunch time and will stay at Hotel New York Palace. His five-day visit starts amidst tension and uncertainty over the unclear position of Indo-US civil nuclear deal in Capitol Hill, where the focus currently is on bailing out failing business giants to save the stumbling American economy.
Importantly, public opinion is mounting pressure on Bush administration to not 'buy bad loans but to buy the equity of the bad financial institutions'. Doubts over a rescue plan have forced politicians to speak out.
"If the nuclear deal doesn't meet its D-day before Dr Singh meets President Bush on September 25, it must be due to forces and issues beyond the control of President Bush. His office has done more than any President can do to take this deal to its logical conclusion," said a retired diplomat speaking from New Delhi [Images].
However, the next 36 hours will be quite eventful for Dr Singh.
Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in his latest interview, had unsurprisingly played down China's alleged obstructionist role at the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The latest round of China-India border talks has just concluded, giving signs that the issue will linger on for a longer time.
During the meeting, both leaders are also likely to discuss the possibility of Dr Singh's pending official visit to Pakistan. According to sources, it can take place this year if both leaders reach an agreement in New York.
Though Dr Singh has already accepted the the invitation, the dates have not yet been finalised owing to the internal turmoil in Pakistan.
"Zardari is supported by US and he is helping US and NATO plans to combat terrorism. While Karzai in Afghanistan is also an American nominee, India has to make sure that region stabilizes with Dr Singh making his policy carefully to capitalize the complex but evolving situation in favour of India," said a retired diplomat, who has served in Kabul and Islamabad [Images].
He points out that if the vote on the nuclear deal is not taking place this week then Americans would like to make sure that some other issue dominates the visit of Dr Singh to Oval office.
It is possible that US may like India doing more than building infrastructure, schools and hospitals.
"India is not in position to send the troops but some steps that helps strengthen security in Afghanistan will be explored," says a New Delhi-based retired ambassador.
In the midst of a variety of issues and tensions, the only political leader smiling since his arrival is maverick President Ahmedinejad of Iran, who has already arrived and moving with huge security personnel.
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