April 14, 2003

Shia leader Aga Khan meets President

New Delhi: President A P J Abdul Kalam today suggested an integrated approach to accelerate the pace of development in three key sectors -- education, health and rural development.

Kalam made the suggestion at a meeting with a delegation headed by the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Later the President had a one-to-one luncheon meeting with Khan.

The spiritual leader informed the President that his trust had undertaken various projects in the three sectors in India and adopted 600 villages in Gujarat for their development.

He told him that the trust was also working in Maharashtra and discussed with him ways and means to further expand operation to other states and in diversified spheres.

The Khan also apprised him of the work being done by the trust in various parts of the world.

The Aga Khan, who is visiting India after a gap of 11 years, will tomorrow preside at a ceremony to inaugurate the restoration of the Humanyun's Tomb gardens.

The project was undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India.

The President was assisted by Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal and some other high officials during the delegation level talks with the Aga Khan.