NATIONAL

President briefs PM on three-nation visit

NEW DELHI OCT. 26. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, briefed the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on the outcome of his visit to the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Bulgaria when Mr. Vajpayee called on him on Saturday soon after the President arrived here. The discussion lasted for over 30 minutes.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said Mr. Kalam emphasised that the discussions in the UAE had crystallised around the need for collaboration in the information technology sector and in education. A proposal for setting up a cyber university was expected to come out of the visit and it seems the President was very keen that this was implemented.

The other point of interest was research in solar energy to help in bringing down the cost of running desalination plants. As availability of fresh water is expected to become a major issue by the turn of the century, if not earlier, this is an area that was identified for research and cooperation during Mr. Kalam's visit to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Currently India's interest in Sudan is mainly in the oil sector but the President also focussed on improving trade and economic ties in other areas. This was conveyed to the Prime Minister.

And in Bulgaria, the focus of discussions was on scientific cooperation in a number of areas and setting up joint business ventures.

The Prime Minister did not see the President off when he left on October 18 for his first official visit abroad and could not receive him on is return.

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