Misconception over foreign trips: President

Misconception over foreign trips: President

Facing criticism over her foreign visits, President Pratibha Patil on Sunday said there has been a “misconception” and wanted the people to ascertain the factual position.

“Right now, there has been a misconception as far as the visits of the president are concerned... The president does not go at his/her own will. The government gives a suggestion on the places the president should visit,” Patil said in an interview to a news channel.

She said the people of the country should respect the president’s post and ascertain the factual position before raising questions. “This post of the president is a Constitutional post. It is the duty of everyone, all citizens to see that they respect the post... the institution of president,” she said.

On the criticism faced over guests and relatives accompanying her during foreign tours, Patil said: “This has been the international practice and in previous occasions also in the past guests and relatives have accompanied the president. So it is not that I have set a precedent.”

She said the foreign visits of the president are “serious business” and beneficial in building the country’s image and has helped in resolving many issues with nations. “These visits have been in the context of the growing profile of India at the international level,” she said.

“India seeks to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council... Things like this don’t happen automatically, you need constant dialogue and discussion with the world,” she said.

Asked about the recent Army chief controversy, she said the government has taken action on corruption charges. “I think that matter is settled. We should not carry it forward any more.”

On the Women’s Reservation Bill, she said: “You see of course it will empower women but it is a decision which the political parties have to take... I think it would be good if there is a consensus and some decision is to take about it.”

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