New Delhi, July 7 : India's recently appointed Consul General in Guangzhou, China, Mr. Gautam Bambawale, on Monday described the suicide bomb attack death of his Indian Foreign Service colleague, Mr. V.Venkat Rao, Counsellor (Political) at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, as a personal loss.
Talking to ANI from Guangzhou, Mr. Bambawale, who was posted in Washington from July 2004 to September 2007, fondly remembered Mr. Venkat Rao, an Indian Foreign Service officer of the 1990 batch.
He said: " V.V. Rao worked with me on several postings, including Berlin and Washington, and he was an outstanding officer of a very high calibre.
He further said that his passing in Monday's suicide bomb attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, along with 40 other persons, "was a great loss to the Indian Foreign Service."
Mr.Bambawale described V.V.Rao as an "extremely popular officer during his posting in Washington D.C., where he interacted very well with everyone as the First Secretary (Political).
Bambawale, who was the Minister for Political Affairs and head of the political wing at the Indian embassy in Washington D.C. took charge of the new Indian Consulate in Guangzhou, China, in October last year It was formally inaugurated in May 2008 by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his three-day visit to China.
The opening of the Consulates in Guangzhou and Kolkata follows an agreement between New Delhi and Beijing inked more than two years ago.
Bambawale is one of the most fluent speakers of Mandarin in the Indian Foreign Service, and has already served three terms in China -- in Hong Kong between 1985 and 1988; at the Embassy in Beijing between 1988 and 1991; and then again in Beijing between 1998 and 2001, during which he served as the Deputy Chief of Mission. In between these stints, Bambawale served as Under Secretary on the China Desk at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi in 1991.
Besides his expertise on China, Bambawale is also a specialist in US-India affairs having served as the Deputy Secretary (Americas) at the MEA headquarters in 1992-94 and as Minister (Political) at the Indian embassy in Washington between 2004 and 2007.
Bambawale is an alumnus of the prestigious Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, and jined the Indian Foreign Service in 1984.