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Scrutiny
 
EMBASSIES: MISSING DIPLOMATS
No one to ‘lie’ abroad?
Many embassies are running without ambassadors, putting question marks on the countries that are unable or unwilling to employ them
Issue Date - 15/09/2011
 
As countries of the world increasingly compete for political, economic, military, resource – basically all kinds of power – diplomacy has become increasingly important. The diplomatic baton is carried by the ambassadors or High Commissioners (in the case of Commonwealth countries) presiding over the embassies in different nations. In spite of the importance and authority attached to the post of ambassadors in pursuing the political and diplomatic process in the target country, it is flabbergasting to find that a sizeable number of them are missing in most embassies of the world! In US, the most important country in the world to carry out diplomatic efforts, as many as 13 embassies have no ambassador. The fact that this list excludes Bhutan, Cuba, North Korea, Myanmar, Somalia and Iran with whom US does not have diplomatic ties makes it even more surreal! Similarly, 18 embassies in Japan are run without ambassadors while New Zealand has as many as 30! Surprisingly, with nine missing ambassadors, India has fewer vacancies in embassies than US!

Most of these absent ambassadors are from very small, little known and impoverished states: Togo, East Timor, El Salvador, et al in US; Gabon, Guyana, Haiti... et al in Japan; and Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Costa Rica et al in India. It is difficult to comprehend their trajectories and come to a conclusion about why they don’t have any diplomatic goals in countries much bigger and powerful than theirs! This ennui is perhaps brought about by their much superior counterparts refusing to recognise them on a respectable standing. In a quid pro quo example, US operates 34 embassies abroad that have no ambassadors. And again, the countries are mostly small and impoverished! For the laggards, this is truly a sordid story, one that threatens the perception of their national character.

 

Sayan Ghosh           

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