Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday “shot down” BJP’s demand that he should not meet Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Havana during the NAM Summit.
Addressing reporters on board the special aircraft, he said, “We will cross the bridge when we come to it” - in response to queries by journalists, accompanying him on his two-nation trip to Brazil and Cuba, about BJP president Rajnath Singh’s demand that he should not meet to Musharraf on the sidelines of the summit in Derhadun on Sunday.
When a reporter referred to the meeting between him and Musharraf on the margins of the two-day NAM Summit in Havana from September 15, Singh said “some efforts are being made.”
Earlier in the day before leaving Delhi, he called for greater solidarity among member of NAM countries to fight the “scourge of terrorism”.
Singh, who had warned Islamabad to match its words with action on terrorism lest the peace process loses popular support, had spoken of his “disappointment” with Pakistan for not doing enough on its pledge. He had, however, indicated that he saw no harm in talking to the President Musharraf.
In his pre-departure statement, he said he was looking forward to “fruitful interactions” with a number of leaders from the developing world. The Prime Minister, who is expected to convey India’s concerns over continued cross-border terrorism to Musharraf and ask him to act in a “substantive” manner, also emphasised on mutual support among NAM members to confront “common challenges”.
“Mutual support and solidarity among NAM members is of prime importance as we confront several common challenges such as making globalisation more inclusive, the scourge of terrorism and addressing widespread hunger, poverty and disease,” he said.
On its part, Singh said, India will help NAM revitalise itself to pursue shared interests of its member states in a “transformed world”. Referring to his three-day Brazil leg of the tour, the Prime Minister expressed hope that his trip to the Latin American country would “consolidate an extremely positive trend” in bilateral relations.
Underlining that India considers Brazil as “one of the main partners in Latin America”, he said his discussions with President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva would cover a wide range of issues, including adding content to political and economic interactions.
Outlining the nature of the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) causus, he said the trilateral forum has already emerged as a shining example of South-South cooperation.
Discussions of the first IBSA Summit, to be attended by South African President Thabo Mbeki,
besides Singh and Da Silva, are expected to focus on issues of global concern like energy security, international terrorism and challenges of sustainable and equitable development.