Leaving with a sense of satisfaction: President Patil

Thirteen days before her tenure comes to an end, Pratibha Patil today looked back on her five years as President with a sense of satisfaction, dismissing as "ill-informed" the criticism of the expenditure on her foreign tours.

"I am leaving with a sense of satisfaction. The initiatives that I had taken during the last five years have got going including one for the cause of women and another on farmers", she said in an interaction with journalists.

Rejecting as "ill informed" the criticism of the expenditure on her foreign tours, she said that the large number of visits undertaken by her were not on her own volition but at the request of the government to promote India's relations.

She noted that such visits were necessary in a fast changing world as ties between countries were no longer only political in nature, but have different aspects like economic, educational and cultural.

Recalling that sometime back India was elected as non-Permanent member of the UN Security Council with an "overwhelming majority", she said that for this it was "very necessary" to make new friends and promote ties with the old ones.

Patil's defence came in the backdrop of reports that her wanderlust has cost the public exchequer a whopping Rs 205 crore on her foreign visits, surpassing the record of all her predecessors. Since assuming office as the country's first woman President in July 2007, Patil has undertaken 12 foreign trips covering 22 countries across four continents. Besides, in the last few months she had also visited South Africa and Seychelles.

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