New Delhi: With President Pratibha Patil`s foreign tours creating a controversy back home, the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday took the unusual step of coming out with a "status report" on the business delegations that had accompanied her on 12 trips abroad in the last five years.
"In an attempt to blend political activities and economic objectives during State Visits abroad, it was decided by the Hon`ble President of India, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, to take Business Delegations as part of her entourage," the Rashtrapati Bhavan said in the report.
"It was a landmark step which has seen several major commercial decisions being taken during the visits and thereafter," said the report on various business delegations which accompanied the President during her foreign visits.
It said as on date, the President has made 12 State Visits comprising 22 countries. Each of these State Visits had an accompanying business delegation addressing the bilateral needs of the countries being visited except in case of three countries -- Russia, Indonesia and Bhutan.
It also detailed the "achievements" in the several foreign visits right from her visit to Brazil, Mexico and Chile in April 2008. They included a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and agreements signed during the visits.
On the latest status report on Brazil, it said further to the visit of the President to Brazil, trade between the two countries has grown rapidly. It has gone up from USD 1.4 billion in 2004-2005 to USD 6.3 billion in 2010-11. Exports to Brazil have expanded more rapidly than Imports.
Besides, Suzlon is setting up a 218MW wind power project in Brazil.
Following the visit to South Korea and Mongolia, the status report said, it was unanimously felt that accompanying the President gives a major fillip to the business houses in terms of enhancing their stature and credibility, which in turn provides them the right platform for meeting their economic engagements in the countries visited.
The report also suggested that the industry associations like CII, FICCI and Assocham or their several members were associated with the initiative taken by the President.
The status report was issued two days after the government sought to put an end to a controversy generated by the President taking her two grandchildren on a 9-day state visit to Seychelles and South Africa, saying it was a "normal diplomatic practice".