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S M Krishna's loss is now Salman Khurshid's gain. Krishna was supposed to travel to France on that fateful weekend in the last days of October, when he had to step down from the Cabinet. Needless to say, the French were quite disappointed. Almost two-and-half months later, Khurshid — on his first visit to Europe as the External Affairs Minister — is now headed for the visit to Paris later this week. While this will be the first visit by an Indian External Affairs Minister to France in almost a decade, it is not expected to be more than a touching-the-base sort of exercise, since France too has a new government that came to power only last year. It remains to be seen whether Khurshid decides to take his wife Louise with him, since his predecessor rarely took his wife or family members along on official trips.
Worthy of Praise
When Congress president Sonia Gandhi refused to accept the post of Prime Minister in 2004, was her "sacrifice" for herself and her family or for the country? Former Union minister Suresh Pachauri believes it was for both. In an article titled "Smt. Sonia Gandhi: An Idol of Simplicity, Service and Sacrifice" in the latest issue of the Congress Sandesh, the party mouthpiece, he has stated that in this country, whenever sacrifice of political leaders is discussed, a mention of her name is "inevitable". "Sacrifice is of two types, one is for oneself and family, and other is for the country. Sacrifice of Smt. Sonia Gandhi is both kinds," writes Pachauri.
WHILE the Army chief hosts the top political, bureaucratic and military brass at his house annually as part of the Army Day celebrations, a new tradition of sorts is being initiated by Gen Bikram Singh. The Army Chief has passed instructions for an informal 'At Home' function at his house every quarter to interact with officers posted in Army HQ and their families. The function, to be jointly hosted by him and his wife, will take place in February, May, August and November every year. Instructions have been sent to all departments at Army HQ to ensure that all officers attend at least one 'At Home' function in a calender year. The aim of the gatherings, insiders say, is to get feedback and exchange ideas with officers posted in different roles in the capital.