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Embassy of India's response to an article in the New India Times

July 29, 1998

The Embassy of India have seen a news item in News India Times dated July 31, 1998, published from New York, pertaining to the transfer of Mr. Harsh Bhasin, Consul General of India, New York, as High Commissioner of India to South Africa.

2. This news report filed by a correspondent (name not given) from Washington is so fall of factual errors and malicious innuendo that the Embassy has no option but to issue this release t o put the record, straight.

3. First, it is emphatically denied that there have been any differences between the Ambassador of India and Mr Bhasin, Consul General. This is a cheap shot fired in the name of "informed sources" that the Embassy believes do not exist. It is also contrary to actual truth. The fact is that even though orders of transfer of Mr. Bhasin have been issued, Mr Bhasin will continue to stay on as Consul General of India, New York, till the end of his normal term in September, 1998 on the basis of recommendation to this effect made by the Ambassador.

4. Any one who has knowledge of the hierarchy and relative importance of diplomatic posts abroad would know that the post of High Commissioner of India, South Africa, is much more important and prestigious than the post of Consul General of Indial New York. It is a promotion and recognition of Mr. Bhasin's outstanding record of service including direct knowledge of the country of South Africa where he had earlier served with distinction, as Consul General of India in Johannesburg.

5. There have been no complaints from members of the Indian community, as alleged in this newspaper report. Mention about allegations of graft, corruption and nepotism in the Consulate as alleged in the newspaper report is an exaggeration. In case any such allegations are available with the correspondent, the Embassy of India would be glad to look into them. This newspaper has not brought anything of this nature to Embassy's notice in the past. To make such general aspersions on the eve of the Consul General's transfer is not in the best standards of journalism.

6. Other insinuations and unfounded allegations contained in this news report are not only baseless, but appear to be motivated. No source has been quoted nor does the report indicate that anyone was contacted either in the Embassy of India Washington or in the Consul General of India,, New York for verifying these wild allegations. The Embassy is also not aware of there being any correspondent of this paper in Washington; at least, no name of such correspondent has been intimated to the Press & Information Wing of the Embassy.