President Pranab Mukherjee,while travelling fairly extensively within the country,has been picky about his foreign visits. He has travelled to only two countries since taking charge in July last year: Mauritius and Bangladesh,both in March this year. He is set to visit Turkey and Belgium next month,perhaps his last overseas trips this year.
With emotions running high in Andhra Pradesh over the creation of Telangana,ministers from the state are worried about their prospects in the Lok Sabha election. Among them is HRD Minister Pallam Raju,who is looking at ways to pamper Kakinada,his constituency. Lined up are an IIIT,a Kendriya Vidyalaya,a CBSE regional centre,and a UGC inter-university centre all due to come up in Kakinada over the next couple of months.
A K Antony,who heads the high-level Congress panel on Telangana,is learnt to be ready to meet non-Congress delegations as well. I will not say no if they come to meet me, he is believed to have said. Antony has so far held over half a dozen meetings,mostly with Congress leaders. His willingness to meet others may,however,delay the entire process,should the committee be flooded with requests.
By land,not air
While Air Force Chief N A K Browne was keen to go to China for a visit this year as the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC),the MEA did not pursue the proposal. The reason being given is that the Air Chiefs visit would be of little value given the limited interaction between the two air forces. The thinking is that a visit by the Army Chief,who takes over as COSC after Browne retires in December,would be of more value.