Prime Minister Manmohan Singh found himself in bit of an awkward situation at the G-20 summit in Mexico recently when his counterparts from Britain and Australia — David Cameron and Julia Gillard, respectively — expressed their desire to visit India. The Prime Ministers of both these countries have been in India in the recent past and, according to diplomatic protocol, it is now the turn of Manmohan Singh to make a reciprocal visit before New Delhi hosts them again. Especially in case of Australia, the visit of an Indian Prime Minister is pending for a long time. The last Prime Minister to travel to Australia was Rajiv Gandhi in 1986. But due to various reasons, Manmohan Singh has been unable to find time to travel to these countries because of which a significant time has elapsed in having a bilateral contact at the level of heads of states. Considering the growing importance in bilateral ties, those two countries have now proposed that they are willing to overlook diplomatic conventions and willing to travel to India again even if Manmohan Singh’s visit is unable to happen. In fact, Gillard’s visit has been all but finalised while Cameron’s visit is also being worked out.
High Level Altercations
During US President Barack Obama’s visit to India in 2010, the Indian authorities had a confrontation with the US secret service personnel over some details of the arrangements. So much so that the then White House press secretary Robert Gibbs had threatened to pull the President out of the official meeting if he did not have his way. Something similar got repeated in Los Cabos in Mexico during the G-20 meeting last week, though this time it was not the Indians but the Chinese who got into an altercation with US security officials. As Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao were having their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of G-20, their respective security staff got engaged in a tiff. It was starting to become serious before the Mexicans — the hosts — intervened and managed to bring tempers under control.
This could probably be