Health reasons restrict Putin’s Indian itinerary
“Though he will be here for about 17 hours, he will have official engagements for only about four hours,” a senior minister said.
Sources said Putin’s official programme will begin 11.30 am Monday and end when he leaves for Moscow at 4.30 pm. The touch and go visit will be packed with delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and meetings with President Pranab Mukherjee, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.
Putin, a judo black belt with a penchant for adventure sports and hard exercising, hurt his back during a judo practice session last month. International media reports had said he was limping at an Asia-Pacific summit. He, in fact, skipped foreign travel in November, including the visit to India.
Government sources said Putin’s team had requested for an even shorter programme in New Delhi. “They had wanted the meetings to start only after noon Monday but we had to request them for more time since there were a number of engagements,” a government functionary said. He added that Putin wanted to spend a good part of the morning to have therapy for his back.
India has also had to cancel the customary lunch hosted by the prime minister for the visiting dignitary as well as the
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