Bringing back Gandhi's memorabilia will be most significant: President Patil

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Onboard Special Aircraft, Oct 27 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil has said that bringing back Mahatma Gandhi's memorabilia to India would be the most exciting occasion of her visit to the United Kingdom.

The memorabilia includes signed letters and a signed khadi cloth spun by Mahatma Gandhi.

London-based Indian community leaders Sir Gulam K Noon and Nathuram ' Nat' Puri, who have acquired Gandhi's memorabilia at an auction, will hand it over to President Patil at a function at the Indian High Commission in London.

Though it has not yet been decided where these memorabilia will be kept in India, President Patil said they would be given due respect and honor.

Talking with media onboard her special aircraft ahead of her weeklong visit to the UK and Cyprus, President Patil said: "After the memorabilia is brought back to India, they will be preserved with due respect and honor."

President Patil, who is the first Indian Head of State to visit the United Kingdom in nearly two decades, at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth, will hold talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Leader of Opposition David Cameroon.

"We have a strategic partnership with the UK since 2004. Bilateral trade and investment between the two countries has been increasing in a satisfactory manner. Our corporation with the UK is across a broad spectrum and includes areas like science and technology, research, defence, IT education among others", President Patil added.

Issues like Afghanistan, the prevailing situation in South Asia, reform of international institutions, climate change and WTO trade talks and financial crisis are likely to be discussed at these meetings.

Education, research, counter-terrorism and economic cooperation are some other issues that will be under consideration in meetings with British leaders.

Earlier, President Patil was received at London's Heathrow Airport on Monday evening by Viscount Hood, Lord Lt for London and Nalin Surie, the High Commissioner of India to the UK.

Patil is being accompanied by her husband Dr. Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat and her granddaughter Kumari Surabhi Shekhawat.

Patil is leading a high-level delegation comprising diplomatic corps and representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development D Purandeswari is among the strong delegation led by the President.

During her visit, Queen Elizabeth, as head of the Commonwealth, will present President Patil with the Commonwealth Games baton at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace to signal the event's formal launch.

Patil will also attend a UK-India Business Council meeting, meet the Lord Mayor of London, and British Members of Parliament.

President Patil will be in London till October 29. By Ravi Khandelwal (ANI)

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