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TMC MP targets Indian Ambassador to Cambodia for playing 'fancy dress'

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Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) MP from Maharashtra Saket Gokhale has trained guns at the Indian Ambassador to Cambodia, Devyani Khobragade for dressing up as 'Apsara' for the host country's New Year last weekend.

Khobragade, a career diplomat for 25 years, dressed up as the celestial danceuse 'Apsara' in the traditional Khmer attire for the Cambodian New Year celebrations (April 13) three days ago.

The Indian Embassy in Phnom Penh described Devyani's gesture as a cultural outreach arising out of her "deep admiration for Khmer culture".

"Ambassador Devyani Khobragade has a deep admiration for Khmer culture and tradition. Embracing the spirit of Khmer New Year, she elegantly dressed as a Khmer Apsara, embodying the rich bond of our civilisations," said the Indian mission in a social media post.

Not amused, Gokhale, 37, has termed it as "the pathetic condition of India's foreign affairs under Dr. S. Jaishankar" and the Ambassador (Dr. Khobragade) is "shamlessly busy with fancy dress".

"Over 5,000 Indians are currently trapped in Cambodia and kept hostage by traffickers. But what's the Indian Ambassador there doing? Playing fancy dress by 'dressing up as an Apsara' and doing photo shoots. Is this the value of Indian lives abroad," asked Gokhale, who hails from Mira Road town in Thane.

A medico-turned-IFS officer (1999), a Yoga expert and an athlete, Khobragade, who was born in Palghar's Tarapur town, is no stranger to controversies.

In 2013, when she served as the Deputy Consul-General of India in New York, she was accused of an alleged visa fraud that led to a huge diplomatic spat between the world's two most exemplary democracies.

Daughter of a senior retired IAS officer from Maharashtra, Uttam Khobragade, who hails from Gadchiroli, Devyani Khobragade was appointed Indian Ambassador to Cambodia in 2020.

The Khobragades' name had also cropped up in the infamous Adarsh Society scam which erupted in 2003 and led to the resignation of an ex-Congress chief minister Ashok Chavan, currently a Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha MP.

--IANS

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