ST. PETERSBURG, Nov 4: Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee arrived here on Sunday, on the first stop of a 10-day tour aimed at ensuring India plays a key role in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

The Indian leader will also be seeking to limit the influence of Pakistan in the war-ravaged country.

On the agenda is a series of meetings with St Petersburg’s governor, Vladimir Iakovlev, and members of the city’s intelligentsia.

Vajpayee is scheduled to travel to Moscow today (Monday), where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the anti-terrorist campaign and the political future of Afghanistan, before leaving for Washington on Wednesday for talks with US President George W. Bush on November 9.

The meeting with Bush could be frosty given Vajpayee’s public impatience with US reluctance to act on India’s accusations that Pakistan is sponsoring cross-border terrorism in Kashmir.

Diplomatic analysts in India have warned that Vajpayee’s stance could reduce Indian influence within the international coalition by overreacting to the closer ties that have developed between Islamabad and Washington since the onset of military strikes on Afghanistan.

In recent weeks, India has aggressively staked its claim for a say in the post Taliban set-up, announcing 100 million dollars in humanitarian aid, appointing a special envoy for Afghanistan, and admitting that New Delhi was helping the opposition coalition with weapons in its fight against the Taliban.—AFP/dpa

Opinion

Wit and wisdom
Updated 14 Apr 2021

Wit and wisdom

Warmth and gregariousness came naturally to him.

Editorial

TLP protests
Updated 14 Apr 2021

TLP protests

For the good of the country, and its image as a nation where extremism has no place, such groups must be strictly reined in.
14 Apr 2021

PPP’s formal exit

THE PPP’s formal resignation from all offices of the PDM comes as no surprise after weeks of tension and public...
14 Apr 2021

Natanz attack

AS the P5+1 and Iran try to breathe life back into the JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is officially known, it appears...
Reform after Daska
Updated 13 Apr 2021

Reform after Daska

Electoral malpractice generates instability and delegitimises the mandate of the winner, triggering one crisis after another.
13 Apr 2021

Reinstating LGs

THE PTI government in Punjab is sending confused and conflicting signals to people when it comes to the critical...
13 Apr 2021

Remembering I.A. Rehman

THE quest for a progressive society in Pakistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours, suffered a big setback in...