New Delhi: Did you know that Indian officials exclaimed "It`s is a boy" after the Shimla Agreement was reached? Or Idi Amin in 1972 ordered expulsion of Asians from Uganda saying they "milk the cow but do not feed it to yield more milk"?
These are among several tidbits mentioned in a new book "The Ambassadors` Club", a selection of experiences that shows the Indian Foreign Service in a remarkable new light. The contributions included in the book, edited by diplomat Krishna V Rajan, 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 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.
"The scene is still vivid in my memory. Benazir (Bhutto), PM`s social secretary Usha Bhagat, Bhutto`s press secretary Khalid Hassan, Nareshwar and I stood outside the room where the two leaders (Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto) were meeting," recalls K N Bakshi, then deputy head of the Pakistan division in the Ministry of External Affairs who was fully involved in the negotiations leading to the Shimla Agreement.
"There seemed hardly any other persons in the foyer. (Senior official P N) Haskar sahib came out of the room, slowly walked towards us and started lighting his pipe.