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U.S. embassy breakfast witnesses high drama

The U.S. embassy in India organised a festive breakfast with an elaborate continental menu to bring a bit of the U.S. election drama to the diplomatic community and the media in Delhi. The ‘breakfast’ was in keeping with the trend of recent outreach by the U.S. Embassy to the Indian civil society. As visitors streamed in and grabbed morning coffee and juice, two gigantic screens telecast election results from CNN.

The ‘breakfast’ was timed to bring U.S. prime time news to the Indian media and began at 7 a.m. and was expected to last till 11 a.m. but with the leads indicating a comfortable majority for the Republican candidate the mood changed. Ambassador Richard Verma who warmly welcomed guests finally ended the suspense at 11 a.m. and announced the result.

Though the morning meeting was meant to showcase the spirit of American democracy, there was an obvious hint that the breakfast could turn into a celebration with a victory for Hillary Clinton, favourite of the government of President Barack Obama. But the results left a few dramatic scenes on the venue. Ambassador Verma who was posted to India with the arrival of the government of Prime Minister Modi in 2014, is known to be a close aide of Hillary Clinton.

Shared values

As the figures predicted a tight race, Mr. Verma read from a prepared speech and predicted closer India-U.S. ties in the next few years. “The ties that bind our two countries together are built on our shared democratic values, and go beyond the friendship of the American President and the Indian Prime Minister. They go beyond the economic and people to people ties,” he said in the official statement.

He also promised that the new government in Washington DC will continue to build on counter-terror cooperation with India.

The mood of the event reflected the divide in the diplomatic community over the possible policy options before the U.S. under Donald Trump presidency. The divide over policies in the West was summed up by Canadian Minister of Immigration John McCallum who told The Hindu on Tuesday that the policy of building walls will not be favoured by Canada which will use immigration for its future development.

“We have gone for expansion of the immigration process. We have our plans on this issue which will help the Canadian economy. Multiculturalism is not a bad word for us,” said Mr. McCallum. Significantly, within minutes of Mr. Trump’s election, one of the most searched Internet items was “immigration to Canada”.

Uncertainties

A leading Western diplomat cautioned that the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific is a sensitive issue and Mr. Trump’s possible realignment of ties with Japan could trigger uncertainties in the region that could spread even to South Asia.

Mr. Trump during his campaign had said that the U.S. is no longer in a position to spend for the security of Japan.

However, diplomats attending the event indicated that it will be a few days before the Trump administration spells out its official policies for the key security zones of the world.

The declaration of the final result however left quite a few moist eyes even among the guests as silence descended on the venue with festive balloons exploding in the background.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 10:46:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/U.S.-embassy-breakfast-witnesses-high-drama/article16441091.ece

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