Prince Charles chats with President Abdul Kalam in the Mughal Garden at the palace in New Delhi
Photo: © AFP
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The Prince of Wales holds aloft a metro token as he prepares to take a ride on the Delhi underground network
Photo: © AFP


29 OCTOBER 2003

The Prince of Wales has kicked off an official visit to India by meeting with President Abdul Kalam at the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhavan. The palace last played host to the Prince back in 1992, when he was accompanied by Princess Diana.

After holding 40 minutes of talks with President Kalam, the future king left to meet with young entrepreneurs taking part in a Prince's Trust style project. Later in the day he had an informal meeting with officers from Indian military regiments which have connections to his own in Britain.

Charles will also visit the states of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Mumbai during his nine-day visit. It is believed the 54-year-old is particularly interested in inspecting efforts to conserve Mumbai's Indo-Saracenic and Art Deco buildings. "The programme has been drawn up keeping in view the Prince's keen interest in India's history and development issues," said an official from the country's external affairs ministry.

He is also scheduled to hold talks with religious leaders, in the hope of promoting better understanding between faiths, and take a ride on Delhi's newly-opened metro line.

The Prince's trip will close with a visit to the set of the latest Bollywood blockbuster. He is to meet with Aishwarya Rai when he visits production of The Uprising in Mumbai. The former Miss World stars in the film alongside British Bond baddie Toby Stevens. The film is a love story set against India's First War of Independence in 1857.

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