Knock! Knock! Whoís there? Itís the King of Saudi Arabia.
Oh! Wait, itís the President of the France. Oh! Wait, now itís the President
of the USA. Wait, now it is Ö
If the folks at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and PMO in India are
somewhat guest-weary then it wouldnít be a big surprise. First it was INDIA
EVERYWHERE, a lavishly planned and executed campaign blitz at the Annual
Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which, based upon
the media coverage did live up to the title. Then it was DESTINATION INDIA,
when the powerful, the power seekers and the glamorous of the World opted to
get a taste of Indian hospitality.
The first three months of this year has seen a bevy of
world leaders visit India, which, perhaps, augurs well for the fortunes of
India. January saw the King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud
hobnobbing with Dr. Singh and being the chief guest at the Republic Day
President George W. Bush had perhaps one of his most successful foreign trips with a landmark nuclear agreement. Before that President Chirac was happy that for once USA
was following France when he shook hands with the bespectacled Sikh PM.
Franceís Council of State, the highest administrative body, was, on the other
hand, not impressed and ruled after his visit that Sikhs still must remove
their turbans for driverís license photos, ostensibly for public security
President Chirac wasnít the only one trying to make Bush
follow him. Former President Clinton put in a cameo appearance visit in
between the two presidential visits. He, perhaps, could claim to have nobler
reasons as he announced plans to train nurses in HIV/AIDS care for his
Foundationsí HIV/AIDS initiatives. Later he signed agreement in Islamabad to
make low prices AIDS medicines and diagnostic tests available in Pakistan. Senator John Kerry, though, could claim to be the one to have started this catch-up game when he smilingly visited the PMO of India in January.
The post Bush New Delhi too was equally busy with welcome
ceremonies. A Coalition of Willing leader, Mr. John Howard, the Australian
Premier was the first one to follow the footsteps of Mr. Bush. A former leader
of Coalition of un-Willing, Mr. Gerhard Schroeder too didnít want to be out
done so he decided to pay Mr. Singh a visit, even though Germany now has a
more Coalition friendly Chancellor.
Next to be seen with the distinguished economist of India
was Mikhail Fradkov, the Prime Minister of Russia. Perhaps, Mr. Putin was busy
elsewhere but still didnít want to be left out so sent his Premier to the city
that Lutyens built.
Some glamour, too, wasnít missing when in between these
visits, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, came and addressed the leaders,
opinion shapers and policy makers of India during the annual India Today