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PM tightlipped about Bush's 'food crisis' comment

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
May 05, 2008 21:14 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday steered clear of the controversy about United States George W Bush attributing the global food crisis to the prosperity in India.

Dr Singh was responding to questions by journalists at the end of the Padma Awards, the first part of which was held in New Delhi on Monday. However, he refused to comment on Bush's statement, which has evoked strong reactions from the Left.

Dr Singh also said that he was not aware of Pakistan's proposal that both India and Pakistan should release every prisoner belonging to the neighbouring country.

"I am not aware of Pakistan's proposal for releasing the prisoners. Prisoners can be released on humanitarian grounds," he said.

Asked when he was planning to visit Pakistan, Dr Singh said that he would wait till things settle down in the neighbouring country.

During the ceremony, President Pratibha Patil conferred the Padam Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Sri to eminent personalities, for their outstanding work in various fields.

Noted singer Asha Bhonsle, Infosys founder Narayan Murthy, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and journalists Rajdeep Sardesai and Vinod Dua were among the recipients of the prestigious awards. The award was conferred posthumously to mountaineer Edmund Hillary, who passed away on January 11, 2008.

Sachin Tendulkar, who was virtually mobbed by his female fans for autographs after the ceremony, told that he is now fit to play the game and will be seen on-field very soon.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi