President Patil meets Spanish king at start of historic visit

Madrid, April 21 (Inditop) Indian President Pratibha Patil was Tuesday welcomed by Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia after arriving Monday for the first official visit by an Indian head of state to Spain.

The four-day visit was expected to focus on stepping up trade relations, investments, and on the fight against terrorism, diplomats said.

The Spanish royal couple welcomed Patil and her husband Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat in front of El Pardo Palace.

The two heads of state then listened to national anthems, inspected a honorary guard and watched a military parade.

Patil was also due to meet Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, visit parliament and the Madrid city hall during her stay.

The president, who was accompanied by Minister of State for Industries Ashwani Kumar and a business delegation, was also scheduled to meet Spanish entrepreneurs.

The visit was described as opening a new phase in political, economic and cultural relations between Spain and India.

Spain, which is not a member of the Group of 20 (G20) but participated in its recent meetings in Washington and London, was expected to seek G20 member India’s support for its permanent integration into the forum.

On Thursday, Patil was scheduled to continue her European tour to Poland.