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PM sends Brown a letter on Miliband,Mandelson gets Delhi cold shoulder

Days after British Foreign Secretary David Miliband upset New Delhi with his comments linking terror to resolution of Kashmir....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
January 21, 2009 3:32:06 am

Days after British Foreign Secretary David Miliband upset New Delhi with his comments linking terror to resolution of Kashmir,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written a letter to British counterpart Gordon Brown and conveyed India’s disappointment on his behaviour and comments.

Miliband’s comments also appeared to have cast a shadow on the visit of Peter Mandelson,British Secretary of State for Business,Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. It is learnt that the British High Commission sought an appointment for Mandelson,here on a four-day visit,with Prime Minister Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee but there has been no word from any of them regarding a meeting. The call-on meetings were “requested” but not granted. They were,however,not scheduled.

Mandelson,however,met Commerce Minister Kamal Nath it was conveyed to him that the visit’s profile could have been “different” had it not followed Miliband’s controversial remarks.

New Delhi’s discomfiture with Miliband was made public by Minister of State (Commerce) Jairam Ramesh who didn’t want to go for a CII event where Mandelson was going to participate on Monday. “I didn’t feel like going. So I spoke to Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday afternoon and asked whether I should attend,since the MEA had expressed strong views on Miliband’s style and substance. He said let me think about it,and then he called back after 2-3 hours and told me you should go and make your point,” Ramesh said.

New Delhi is clearly upset with Miliband’s “arrogant” behaviour which has evoked sharp reactions. The MEA even said it didn’t need “unsolicited advice” and that his views were “evolving”.

Mandelson,who is visiting Delhi,Pune and Mumbai,has a business delegation which has representation from various sectors including civil nuclear players such as AMEC and Rolls Royce,infrastructure companies such as Arup and Benoy and the world’s largest law firm,Clifford Chance. Cairn Energy,GKN,Vodafone and Standard Chartered are also part of the delegation.

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