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Former envoy Hardeep Puri joins BJP, lauds Modi

New Delhi, Jan 2 - Hardeep Singh Puri, who retired last year as India's permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party Thursday. Puri said he had joined the party for its "strong sense of nationalism".

Puri joined the party in presence of BJP president Rajnath Singh.

A party press release said that Rajnath Singh welcomed Puri in the party and said the BJP looked forward to utilising his experience in the areas of foreign affairs, security and trade policies. Puri said he was "delighted to formally join the party which he had long admired for its strong sense of nationalism".

He also said that he was ready to contribute in whatever manner the BJP president and its senior leadership required him to.

Puri had joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1974. During a career spanning 39 years, he served in senior positions and held ambassador-level assignments in London, Geneva and Brasilia. He was also served as secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.

"I have been admirer of BJP for several years. In particular, what appeals is the (party's) strong sense of nationalism. In areas of foreign and security policy, they are more focused and able to articulate positions forcefully," Puri told IANS.

He said tha BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government was able to "accomplish national goals more effectively."

Puri also expressed his disappointment over the way the United Progress Alliance government had handled relationship with China and Pakistan over the last year.

"It did not leave (me) with any choice," he said.

Puri said that time had come for change in national mood and "BJP's prime ministerial candidate (Narendra Modi) captures that more effectively. "

Asked about the changes in the country's foreign and security policies if a BJP-led government comes to office, Puri said it was too early for him to comment.

"I will be a small cog in a large wheel," he said.

Puri is the second person from the Indian Foreign Service to have joined a political party in almost a year. Pavan K. Varma, who was ambassador to Bhutan, had joined the Janata Dal United last year after seeking premature retirement.

Puri's wife had taken early retirement from the IFS and is presently Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. IANS

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