Anand Sharma defends Patil taking kin along on foreign trip
New Delhi, May 7 (ANI): Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday described reports criticizing President Pratibha Devisingh Patil for taking her relatives to Seychelles and South Africa as unfortunate.
"It's very unfortunate that President's visit has been dragged into any such discussion or controversy. The Rashtrapati does not undertake a visit on his or her willingness, it's always a decision of the government. And when other Heads of States also travel whether to India or other parts of the world, their entourage is never called into question," said Sharma.
"And it is always the President's and the Vice President's visit a part of the high-level visits, which have been carefully planned. The External Affairs Ministry and the government take all the aspects of a bilateral strategic nature into consideration while planning such visits. So, I fail to understand that why a controversy has been kicked up," he added.
Sharma further said it is unfortunate that this issue has been raised when President Patil is traveling to South Africa for the two nations have a deepening engagement with each other.
"It is unfortunate, and particularly when the Rashtrapati is traveling abroad that to in South Africa, which is a strategic partner of India. Our two countries work together under IBSA, we have a deepening engagement. Heads of States should be given respect and their state visits should not be a matter of controversy," he added.
President Patil is presently in South Africa on the second leg of her nine-day tour after concluding her 'landmark' visit to Seychelles. Her two grandchildren are with her. (ANI)
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