TMC MP criticizes Indian Ambassador to Cambodia for wearing ‘fancy dress’

In a recent development, TMC MP Saket Gokhale criticized Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Devyani Khobragade for dressing up as ‘Apsara’ for the host country’s New Year celebrations. The Ambassador’s gesture was described as a cultural outreach by the Indian Embassy in Phnom Penh, but Gokhale questioned her priorities amidst the plight of Indians in Cambodia.

Khobragade, a veteran diplomat with 25 years of experience, chose to dress up as a Khmer Apsara, symbolizing the deep bond between Indian and Khmer cultures. However, Gokhale slammed the Ambassador’s action, highlighting the challenges faced by over 5,000 Indians in Cambodia who are reportedly trapped by traffickers.

The TMC MP expressed his disappointment with the state of India’s foreign affairs under Dr. S. Jaishankar, questioning the value placed on Indian lives abroad. Gokhale, who himself hails from Thane, criticized Khobragade for being “shamelessly busy with fancy dress” instead of addressing the concerns of Indian nationals in Cambodia.

Devyani Khobragade, a medico-turned-IFS officer, has been embroiled in controversies in the past, notably the visa fraud issue during her tenure in New York. Despite her expertise in yoga and athletics, her recent choice to dress as an Apsara has raised eyebrows and drawn criticism from various quarters.

Born in Maharashtra to a family with a bureaucratic background, Khobragade’s appointment as the Indian Ambassador to Cambodia in 2020 was met with mixed reactions. Her association with the Khobragade name, previously linked to the Adarsh Society scam, further adds to the scrutiny surrounding her actions and decisions as a diplomat.

The ongoing debate surrounding Devyani Khobragade’s choice to dress as an Apsara underscores the complexities of cultural diplomacy and the expectations placed on Indian officials serving abroad. As the criticism mounts, it remains to be seen how the Indian Embassy in Cambodia will address the concerns raised by TMC MP Saket Gokhale and others regarding the Ambassador’s recent actions.


IANS, established in 1986, is India's largest independent news service, offering 24x7 news from India and South Asia, and a preferred source for diverse content across six business verticals.

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