Seven envoys: Prez accepts credentials in e-ceremony
NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind became India’s first head of state to receive and accept diplomatic credentials of seven foreign envoys in an e-ceremony, heralding “digital diplomacy” because of the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Elaborate physical ceremonies for the presentation of credentials have been put on hold during the national lockdown with Covid-19 protocols firmly in place at Rashtrapati Bhavan and President Kovind minimising his engagements. “But it was felt necessary to conduct the credential presentation online, as it is a vital part of diplomatic culture which shouldn’t be overlooked,” said a senior Rashtrapati Bhavan official who asked not to be named.
The ambassadors of DPR Korea, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and the high commissioners of Trinidad & Tobago, Mauritius, Australia and Rwanda came to
South Block on Thursday morning and stood one by one in front of a large screen, through which President Kovind welcomed them.
These were the first batch of envoys who presented their credentials after the Covid pandemic swept India leading to a federal lockdown since March 25. Secretary (west) of the ministry of external affairs, Vikas Swaroop, was present with the envoys during the ceremony, the official cited above said.
“The envoys read out their letters credence and the President accepted them on the TV screen. They also nodded at the President as per the protocol, and some envoys even extended an invitation to the President on behalf of their head of state to visit their countries. The President accepted them and, at the end, he delivered a short speech welcoming them in India and also mentioned how our country is fighting against Covid,” said a second official aware of the matter.