NATIONAL

"Protesters turned spectators"

Diplomatic Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Demonstrators, who came to protest against Indo-American exercises at the Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal earlier this month, turned into spectators, the U.S. Ambassador David Mulford said on Monday.

According to Mr. Mulford, the demonstrators were also dealt with severely by their leaders. Taking questions at a press conference, the envoy said the U.S. expected demonstrations in a democracy, but these should not get out of hand.

On the Volcker report that led to Mr. Natwar Singh's exit as External Affairs Minister, Mr. Mulford said that Mr. Paul Volcker was a private American citizen, who had been commissioned by the United Nations to lead the inquiry.

The Ambassador said though the Left parties had posed difficulties to the Manmohan Singh Government, it had accomplished key objectives such as introducing a patent protection law, the value added tax, an open skies agreement with the U.S., resolution of the Dabhol dispute and was considering the possibility of allowing foreign direct investment in the retail sector.

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