Wellington, Oct 11 (ANI): Raga D'silva, deputy chairman of the India New Zealand Business Council, has warned that the TVNZ presenter Paul Henry's 'racist' comments against New Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit could have a negative impact on negotiations for a free trade agreement between both the countries.
D'silva urged the New Zealand government to take right approach to deal with the situation.
"Our diplomatic leaders need to start looking at ways of rectifying this matter with immediate effect. Considering India is all about relationships, a slur like this will not be taken lightly," the New Zealand Herald quoted her, as saying.
Negotiations towards a free trade agreement began this year. After Henry's remarks about Dikshit, New Zealand's High Commissioner to India, Rupert Holborow, was summoned to the Indian Foreign Ministry and given a formal protest.
Henry made fun of Sheila Dikshit's name by repeatedly calling her "Dick-sh*t" and claimed that her name was "so appropriate" because she was an Indian.
D'silva said that the comments on the chief minister's name had upset Indians the most.
"For instance I was in Delhi yesterday at meetings and at every meeting I had every client brought [Henry's remarks] up. They're very upset about it and I had to say 'I'm sorry and embarrassed' as a Kiwi-Indian," she added.
Meanwhile, Wenceslaus Anthony, chairman of the India New Zealand Business Council, said that Henry's remarks had made a dent in the relationship between the two countries.
Henry resigned on Sunday after meeting the state broadcaster's chief executive, Rick Ellis.
Pressure had been mounting on Henry to resign since the time he insulted the Indian-origin Governor-General in the country, Sir Anand Satyanand, during an interview with Key on Breakfast last Monday. (ANI)