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Sunday, January 18, 2009

PM and his guests

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If your boss comes to your house, you and your family dresses to receive him. If your junior does the same, you may ask servant or kid to seat him until you join. We do behave differently towards people based on their status relative to our. Treating rich friend differently than poor is perhaps mean and hurtful but also reality. On individual level, some good people will probably not differentiate and be equally respectful to both. On official level, this hardly happens. This is what is diplomatic protocol.

When Chief of large and influential country (say US/UK/China) visits India on official visit, Prime Minister of India receives him at airport along with few ministers of his cabinet and welcomes him. When Chief of small country (say Cambodia/Sri Lanka/Chez Republic) visits, a Minister or Minister of State receives him. If anyone less than Chief visits then rank of person receiving is equal or smaller depending on whether visitor if from big (not in size) country or small country. While it is sign of power balance between nations how strange it must feel for Ghana’s President to be received by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, for example. Someday someone will promise to make his country so developed that PM comes to pick him up — a comic revenge plot masala indeed.

For those who are deemed important, streets are lined with school children dressed in starched uniform holding flags of guest nation. In smiling faces lies hidden the pain (I imagine) of young innocents of being herded and lined up by school teachers and being made to stand in Sun waiving flags at someone they don’t know or care about. I don’t have exact idea how it happens but I guess a directive must be given by some official to government schools in vicinity. Or may be school volunteer for such and it is considered prestigious to be invited.

Would it will place us on moral high ground — and may be result in better international relations and long-run tangible benefits — if PM goes to receive Chief of every nation? Or will it eat into his already busy schedule?