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Menon begins round of political meetings

The new foreign secy meets leaders from across the political spectrum," reports Nilova Roy Chaudhury.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 20:22 IST
Nilova Roy Chaudhury
Nilova Roy Chaudhury

A week after he took charge of the foreign office, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon on Saturday met leaders from across the political spectrum for what were described as "courtesy calls."

Menon, who took over from Shyam Saran on last Sunday (October 1)in what a senior South Block official called "difficult circumstances," having superceded 16 senior officials, some of whom have actually put in their papers, met BJP leader LK Advani and the CPI(M)leader Sitaram Yechury on Saturday.

He is scheduled to meet the BJP's Jaswant Singh, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha and a former external affairs minister, on Sunday.

The meeting with Advani was described as a 'courtesy call on the leader of the opposition' in the Lok Sabha. Menon had accompanied Advani when he visited Pakistan last year.

India-Pakistan relations figured prominently during the meeting, but it was not a briefing about the proposed bilateral joint anti-terror mechanism, for which the government has come under considerable fire.

Menon, who has been widely viewed as being the initiator or the architect of the joint anti-terror mechanism, denied there had been any change in the government's policy towards terrorism. He said the mechanism had a very clear mandate and would be tested by the results it yields.

Details of who will serve on this group and how soon it will become functional are still being worked out.

According to Yechury, "There was no fixed agenda" for today's meeting. He has known Menon for years and the meeting was in the nature of getting back in touch after Menon's return to India to assume his new job.

First Published: Oct 07, 2006 20:22 IST