‘Envoy did not threaten Swedish paper over Pranab interview’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on May 29, 2015

Ministry says President’s visit to Sweden and Belarus is on schedule

The Indian Ambassador to Sweden did not call Swedish newspaper Dagen Nyheter, threatening to cancel the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee if it did not retract portions of his interview given to the paper, said the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday.

“The Ambassador made no such threat,” a Ministry spokesman said.

The President leaves on May 31 for a visit to Sweden and Belarus.

In the interview, Mukherjee had reportedly said that since no Indian court had given its judgement on the Bofors issue, it could not be called a scandal. The issue has since snowballed with the Indian Ambassador writing to the newspaper, pointing out that it was both unprofessional and unethical to report an off-the-record correction made by the President after the interview had ended.

Navtej Sarna, Secretary – West, added that the President’s visit was on and had been on all the time.

“We are keenly looking forward to the first visit of the President of India to Sweden and Belarus. I request you to keep your eye on the main focus of the visit and not on trivia,” Sarna said.

Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to the President, added that the preparations were fully underway for the visit.

Major takeaways

Sarna further pointed out that there will be major takeaways from the visit on most of the new programmes of the Centre. “Sweden has tremendous strengths in several issues which are of immediate interest to us. They have created smart cities. There will certainly be a takeaway in terms of urbanisation. We hope that when we come back after discussions we can formalise this cooperation in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, joint working group or some other modality. There will also be takeaways in terms of renewable energy, skill development…. In several and all these areas we can look forward to positive results,” he said.

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Published on May 29, 2015
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