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A Sikh Diplomat

ISBN 1904623689 

Image 1 - A Sikh Diplomat

1973-A Santiago, Chile. Dinner for President Allende at the Indian Embassy in Santiago. From left to right President Allende, Milena Luksic de Marin, Hortensia Busi de Allende, wife of Chief of Army Staff, author.

“The phone rang so I picked it up to hear Allende’s voice. He said, ‘I am calling you on the most difficult day of my life. We shall fight all day.’ Then he must have put the phone down.”
'I felt that 7.30 A.M. was not a good time to ring up anybody. The only unusual sound I heard was of planes flying overhead. Whom should I ask? I decided to go to office as usual and make phone calls. The problem was that my diplomatic colleagues would be divided and would only have news favouring whichever side of the iron curtain they were on. There was no Indian involved in politics. My Chilean friends although generally opposed to Allende were non-political and would know nothing. It did not seem a good day to call Chilean officials or politicians.'

Image 2 - A Sikh Diplomat

1944 London, In R.A.F. uniform.

'A couple of days later, I was in Cosford. The first problem was my turban. The other cadets were given little strips of white cloth which fitted in their forage caps and distinguished them from ‘other ranks’ as cadets. I treated my turban as a ‘hat’ and pinned an R.A.F. brass badge on the front of it. One Officer seeing me in a corridor asked me if I intended to keep my turban and beard. My answer was, “Yes, Sir.”'


'What was the work of disarmament? We would receive intelligence reports of the place where weapons or warlike material was supposed to exist. ....
'One day everybody became quite excited when the Intelligence report was about ‘aircraft factory’. We had visions of a well concealed aircraft factory in the middle of the Lower Saxon Countryside which was not at all an industrial area. The map reference was very specific and as we got nearer I was expecting to see at least a railway line. However, what we found was a village of about a thousand inhabitants only slightly bigger than other villages I had been to. I went immediately to the mayor who denied all knowledge of any factory. After cross-examining him I took him to the map reference where we found the village blacksmith’s workshop. It was bigger than others I had seen and the owner was there to answer my questions. He said that he had had a contract with the German Navy to make torpedo nose covers. He showed us a sample. It looked like an unusually broad aluminium bucket. It was designed to be placed on the front end of a torpedo when it was stored in a submarine. Apparently German torpedoes had detonators at the front end designed to make them explode on impact. The cover was to eliminate the possibility of an accidental explosion during transportation or storage.'

Image 3 - A Sikh Diplomat

1971 Lima, Peru. Presentation of credentials to President of Peru in the presence of the Foreign Minister and Aides-de-Camp.

'...... After that we entered Peru and then there was a petrol pump which had a sign FILL UP HERE YOU WILL NOT FIND ANOTHER PUMP FOR THREE HUNDRED KILOMETRES. The road runs near the coast but we were warned that we must carry drinking water and rugs because if the car breaks down, one can get dehydrated in the daytime (temperature up to 40 degrees Celsius) or frozen at night (temperature down to -40 degrees) if there is a wind. We were booked to stop that night at Artca but when we got there at teatime Kirat went to inspect the kitchen and said it was dirty we could not possibly stay there so we got back into the car and the night fell ten kilometres later as the road left the coast and climbed into the coastal range – the latitude was 15 degrees South.'


Image 4 - A Sikh Diplomat

1955 Buenos Aires, Argentina, at a display of Indian fashions organized in co-operation with the Union. Left to right - Kirat, an unidentified Argentine, President Juan Domingo Peron, author and the President of Secondary Students Union, .

'... However, South American dictators are usually removed by a golpe (coup d’etat) and with increasing corruption and abuse of power by the President’s friends, the time seemed to be drawing near. With the death of his charismatic wife Eva in July 1952, he had acquired a reputation as a womaniser. This would normally be an asset but the women became younger and younger until he founded an association of secondary students who got various privileges like the use of one of the Presidential residences. He thought he would reach out to India as a non-aligned country because he wanted to get away from the U.S. apron which usually covers Latin America under the name of the Monroe Doctrine.'

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