In 1972, in what appeared a whimsical decision at first, Idi Amin, the dictator of Uganda, declared that all Asians holding citizenship of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or the UK would be expelled from the country within three months. As he put it, mistakenly, 'Asians milked the cow, but did not feed it to yield more milk.' It was the beginning of a nightmarish five months for Niranjan Desai, who had been sent from India as officer on special duty to help tackle the crisis, as he tried to help people leaving possessions and attachments behind for an uncertain future, watched a country in turmoil where people vanished overnight, and was himself declared persona non grata and put at some risk to his life. But as he learnt from the experience, rules and regulations are secondary and merely a guide while helping people in distress. Sometimes, when there is no opportunity for the observance of diplomatic niceties, it is common sense that counts. The role of the Indian diplomat is a varied one, as Desai's and other'S accounts in The Ambassador's Club show, and Krishna V. Rajan, himself a skilful diplomat, has brought together, for the first time, a selection of experiences that shows the Indian Foreign Service in a remarkable new light. With a fine sense of observation and considerable writing skills, the contributions included here show the Indian envoy playing protector, negotiator and guide in places as far away as Chile and Fiji to closer home, in Bhutan and Nepal. Ranged here is the entire gamut of diplomatic duties, from putting forward the Indian viewpoint at tough negotiations on climate change to being the UN secretary-general's special envoy in Iraq in the time leading up to the war there; from being in a sensitive position as envoy in Fiji during a coup to being present as the Shimla Agreement was reached between India and Pakistan. 'It's a boy!' was the excited announcement of that accord. It is that same pleasure of accomplishment that runs through this anthology.
|Author||K. V. Rajan|
|Number Of Pages||352|