NEW DELHI: In an unusual step, India’s external affairs ministry has reprimanded Indian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates C.M. Bhandari for misusing an official function for personal ends.
Bhandari had included a family event on the official invitation cards issued by the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi on the occasion of the Republic Day this year, which triggered consternation among the Indian community in Abu Dhabi and in diplomatic circles. The UAE is home to nearly 1 million strong Indian diaspora.
"The ambassador has unfortunately shown a lack of judgement in including a family event in the celebration of a formal national event," the MEA spokesperson Navtej Sarna said in response to a question on Thursday.
"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," he added. Over the last six months, there have been several cases of diplomatic misconduct leading to recall of some envoys. This week the ministry asked special secretary (economic affairs) Rakesh Kumar to proceed on leave pending an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into charges of collusion in human trafficking during his tenure as director-general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
Last month, the Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Harish Kumar Dogra was recalled after strong protests by the Indian community about his high-handed way of functioning. R.K.T Arasu, a second secretary in the high mission in Malaysia, was called back last month allegedly on grounds of misusing his position to help illegal migrants with jobs. Aneil Matherani was recalled as ambassador to Croatia last December after his name cropped up in the oil-for-cash scandal that allegedly involved the then external affairs minister K. Natwar Singh.