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Indian envoy to UAE gives clarification

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 7 (UNI) In the eye of a controversy for including a family event in the celebration of a national event, Indian Ambassador to the UAE C M Bhandari today admitted that expenses for the dinner reception of his newly wed daughter were borne by the government.

Mr Bhandari, however, sought to defend himself by saying that he was unaware that it was improper for using an official occasion for introducing his family to guests.

''I was not aware that it was improper for using an official occasion for introducing my family to guests,'' he told Star News.

The invitation card issued by the Indian Embassy in the UAE states: ''On the occasion of the 56th Anniversary of the Republic Day of India and to meet my daughters: Aparita with her husband Rajesh Duggal and Samhita, the Ambassador of the Republic of India H.E. Mr Chandra Mohan Bhandari cordially invites ---------- at a deferred Dinner Reception.'' The news channel said that not only was the official card with the national emblem Ashok Chakra used for a personal party but the ''Government of India footed the bill for the reception dinner held at the Embassy residence, Plot No. 10, Sector W-59/02 Diplomatic Area, Abu Dhabi.'' ''This is being seen as a major breach of protocol. As per the protocol, the ambassador cannot use the solemn occasion of the Republic Day reception, where he hosts international dignitaries on behalf of the President of India, for a personal reception,'' it said.

Taking a serious note of the incident, the government had yesterday reprimanded the Indian ambassador and said it was taking action to ensure that such lapses did not occur in any of the Missions abroad.

''The Ambassador has unfortunately shown a lack of judgement in including a family event in the celebration of a formal national event. The Ministry has issued a reprimand to the officer and is taking action to ensure that such lapses do not occur in any of our Missions abroad,'' an External Affairs Ministry Spokesman said.

UNI/SKS RL PM1951

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