Aga Khan meets President, PM

Statesman News Service

NEW DELHI, April 14. — The head of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, today met Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee to discuss ways in which his foundation can work with the India in the fields of education, health, rural development. On his visit to India after 11 years, Aga Khan spoke of the potential for cooperation in areas such as healthcare, micro-credit, financial services, humanitarian assistance and the promotion of NGOs, officials said.

The government is currently into discussions with The Aga Khan Foundation to work together in Afghanistan in the education sector. In the course of his 40-minute meeting with the President along with his aides, Dr Kalam suggested an integrated approach to accelerate the pace of development in three key sectors — education, health and rural development — in which the Aga Khan Foundation is involved.

Aga Khan told the President that his trust has undertaken a variety of projects in the three sectors in India, concentrating on Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Foundation has adopted 600 villages in Gujarat for their development, Aga Khan said. He will preside over the formal opening of the restored Humayun’s Tomb gardens, a project undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with the Archeological Survey of India.

The President hosted the spiritual head of the Ismaili community for a one-on-one lunch, at which Aga Khan’s favourite ‘special biryani’, mutton and chicken kababs and prawn fry was served, besides vegetarian delicacies, Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said. Aga Khan (66), is also scheduled to meet Vice- President Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, finance minister Mr Jaswant Singh, tourism and culture minister Mr Jagmohan, and Mrs Sonia Gandhi.