03 August, 2021

Our Man In Delhi

The British high commissioner's unorthodox style of diplomacy once again ruffles Indian feathers

Our Man In Delhi

AN extraordinary thing happened on Prime Minister I.K. Gujral's return from the Commonwealth Summit in Edinburgh. Armed with that morning's newspaper story that Indian officials wanted him recalled, British High Commissioner David Gore-Booth crossed protocol lines to be amongst the first to meet Gujral at the airport to ascertain whether the story was true or not.

Gujral denied the story, but it was already too late for Gore-Booth. Cameras caught him with his arm placed casually around the Prime Minister's shoulders as he showed him the press report. A Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official described his behaviour as "most unusual and unbecoming" of a senior diplomat: "It is a poor day for British diplomacy when the British high commissioner accosts the Indian PM, seeking and pressing for certificates in this way."

 The British envoy's act was met with uncomfortable embarrassment on the part of Indian officials present. But British officials have tried to play down the incident. "He was...

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