India set for visits by Obama, Sarkozy, Medvedev

10:32PM Wed 22 Sep, 2010

New Delhi - It promises to be a diplomatic marathon for External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna as he gears up to meet foreign minsters of the US, France and Russia this week to firm up the agenda for the visits by their leaders to India this year.

Besides participating in the 65th session of the UN General Assembly and attending a slew of multilateral meetings, Krishna will also meet foreign ministers from around a dozen countries in the next few days.

While bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of Pakistan and China remain the subject of speculation, Krishna is set to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the margins of the UNGA in the coming days.

These three meetings are expected to firm up the agenda for three important visits by leaders of India's key strategic partners in the coming months, reliable sources said.
US President Barack Obama is likely to come on his maiden visit to India Nov 6-9. French President Nicholas Sarkozy is expected Dec 6-7. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will come in December for the annual summit talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The government has yet to announce the dates for these important visits that will showcase the rising global stature of India and expand partnerships with three key partners of India in its quest for civil nuclear energy.

Krishna will also meet the foreign ministers of Bangladesh, Belgium, Nigeria and South Africa and the president of Guyana on the margins of the UNGA, sources in the external affairs ministry said.

"As of now, these bilateral meetings have been fixed. The minister's programme is still evolving," the sources added.

Krishna will also attend a lunch hosted by UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and the dinner hosted by Obama for visiting world leaders.

Besides bilateral meetings, a veritable diplomatic marathon awaits Krishna during his 10-day stay in New York. He will represent India at the ministerial meetings of the G4 (India, Japan, Brazil and Germany), IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa), the SAARC countries, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the G-77, the Commonwealth grouping, the Asian Cooperation Dialogue meeting, a conference on disarmament and the NAM ministerial meeting on Palestine.
(IANS), Sept 22, 2010