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UN chief to visit India this week

United Nations/New Delhi, April 24 - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will undertake a four-day visit to India, his third since 2008, from Thursday when he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other government leaders to discuss the geopolitical situation, troubled zones and other development issues.

Ban, accompanied by his wife and a large delegation, will be here till April 29, during which he will also visit Mumbai, where he will meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, apart from inspecting development projects and attending millennium development goals events.

The UN secretary general will depart for India April 25, UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey said at the United Nations headquarters Monday.

'This is his third visit and the second official visit since he took over as the UN secretary general,' Indian ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here Tuesday.

During his stay in Delhi, Ban will also meet India's Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, he said.

'His first stop will be Delhi, where he will have meetings with the senior political leadership to discuss current regional and international issues and matters of global concern,' del Buey said at a daily news briefing.

According to del Buey, Ban will also receive an honorary degree from Jamia Islamia University, Xinhua reported.

'He will then visit Mumbai, where he will meet with Prithviraj Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra state, and meet with a small group of key business leaders committed to utilizing their expertise to promote the health of women and children,' said del Buey.

'He will also visit health facilities where he will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the progress being made in communities through his discussions with women, children and health workers.'

Del Buey added that Ban will attend an event hosted by members of a group of advocates for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight international development targets due to be met worldwide by 2015. Ban created the MDG Advocacy Group in 2010 to help spur political will and action to meet the goals.

Ban had first visited India in 2008, after assuming office in 2007. He again visited India in 2009 to receive an award from a NGO in Uttarakhand.

'The present visit of Ban Ki-moon comes in the context of India's strong commitment to multi-lateralism and its wide-ranging contribution to the UN including its specialised programmes and agencies,' Akbaruddin said.

'It is expected that the visit will provide an opportunity for us to share India's perspectives major regional and global issues,' he added.

India is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and is one of the largest contributors to the UN peacekeeping efforts in various trouble zones of the world, including in Congo, South Sudan, Lebanon and others.

India is a candidate for permanent membership of a reformed UNSC for which inter-governmental consultations are currently in progress.



-IANS


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