UK minister pacifies India over Miliband ‘terror gaffe’

25 January 2009
The News International


London: Peter Mandelson has had to smooth over a diplomatic rift with India caused by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, it emerged the other day. The UK secretary of state for business last week flew into the storm caused by his UK cabinet colleague and reassured New Delhi of Britains solidarity with India. Miliband enraged Indian counterparts by linking the terror attacks in Mumbai to the Kashmir dispute in a newspaper article. New Delhi ministers and officials also complained he had been a disaster and arrogant during talks earlier this month. Lord Mandelson arrived in India on a trade visit just as the diplomatic row erupted. Indias dismay at Miliband was raised by Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee in a meeting with Lord Mandelson. However, the foreign minister also tried to draw a line under the row by publicly saying India now treated the matter as a closed chapter. A source present at the talks said the UK secretary of state for business expressed Britains solidarity with India and in tracking down suspects of the Mumbai terror attacks.The disclosure that Lord Mandelson came to the rescue of the UK foreign secretary will deepen Milibands embarrassment. It left the impression of the UK cabinet veteran being forced to clean up after the mess left by his novice younger colleague in India, a country which places huge emphasis on respect for elders. The shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, said yesterday: It is becoming clear that David Milibands India tour was a serious diplomatic disaster. Peter Mandelson has had to smooth over a diplomatic rift with India caused by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, it emerged the other day. The UK secretary of state for business last week flew into the storm caused by his UK cabinet colleague and reassured New Delhi of Britains solidarity with India. Miliband enraged Indian counterparts by linking the terror attacks in Mumbai to the Kashmir dispute in a newspaper article. New Delhi ministers and officials also complained he had been a disaster and arrogant during talks earlier this month. Lord Mandelson arrived in India on a trade visit just as the diplomatic row erupted. Indias dismay at Miliband was raised by Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee in a meeting with Lord Mandelson. However, the foreign minister also tried to draw a line under the row by publicly saying India now treated the matter as a closed chapter. A source present at the talks said the UK secretary of state for business expressed Britains solidarity with India and in tracking down suspects of the Mumbai terror attacks.The disclosure that Lord Mandelson came to the rescue of the UK foreign secretary will deepen Milibands embarrassment. It left the impression of the UK cabinet veteran being forced to clean up after the mess left by his novice younger colleague in India, a country which places huge emphasis on respect for elders. The shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, said yesterday It is becoming clear that David Milibands India tour was a serious diplomatic disaster.