The foreign minister of India took the floor at a UN Security Council meeting this week, but in a rather embarrassing faux pas he began reading out from the speech of his Portuguese counterpart instead of his own. Three minutes into the address, Indian diplomats realised that S. M.Krishna was reading off the wrong speech, and stopped him from proceeding further. He began again, this time with the right script.
It's not known what the Portuguese thought of the Indian official reading their address as his own. Thankfully, the Portuguese minister had spoken earlier, or else Krishna might have been accused of stealing his thunder !
A small mix-up, the Indian foreign ministry later said, adding too much shouldn't be made of it.. Krishna went on to make a "well received" speech, it said.
But you have to ask how can you get even minor things wrong at this level ? Krishna was at the UN to push for reforms of the world body, a campaign that New Delhi is pursuing aggressively, with an eye on a permanent seat on the Security Council. But you got to get your message right if you are playing for Great Power status whether it is in New York or trying to influence the end game in Afghanistan. Imagine if the foreign minister had picked up the speech of his Pakistani counterpart to read.
That would have sent rather conflicting signals all around, with the Pakistanis likely the most confused !