MoD's Diplomatic Faux Pas Leaves Government Red-faced

Published: 27th May 2015 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2015 05:59 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: In a major diplomatic faux pas, visiting German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was to have received a Guard of Honour at the South Block on Tuesday, found out to her surprise that there was nobody to receive her. Not even a single officer from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), let alone her counterpart Manohar Parrikar or his deputy Rao Inderjit Singh, was there to honour the protocol.

German Defence Minister.jpgUrsula had arrived here on a three-day visit aimed at deepening bilateral ties between the two countries. Soon after her arrival, Ursula visited  Amar Jawan Jyoti and paid tributes.

Later, on the lawns of the South Block-- which houses the Defence Minister’s Office, she was to have received a Guard of Honour. But shockingly, neither Parrikar nor Rao Inderjit  was present on the occasion to receive her at the lawns.

In fact, Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar, who is the senior-most official of the ministry,  gave the ceremony a miss.

Almost caught off-guard, a Joint Secretary rank officer came to the rescue of the government.

Interestingly, Joint Secretary Suresh Kumar,  who had joined the MoD a fortnight ago, was made available on the occasion to receive the visiting German minister.

Later, Ursula, accompanied by Berlin’s Ambassador here Michael Steiner, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She also held talks with Parrikar to enhance defence cooperation between the two nation. Germany had expressed its desire to join ‘Make in India’ programme during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to German early this month.

The German minister is also scheduled to visit the Army Research and Referral Hospital. She will also visit the Western Naval Command in Mumbai and INS Mumbai.

Ursula will leave for Singapore on May 28 to participate in the Shangri-La Asia Security Summit. Germany is a major exporter of arms to India.


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