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Oops, Wrong Speech!

- February 16, 2011

Politicians give lots of speeches and it is not surprising that they may not always be so into them. Yet, it is still probably a good idea to deliver your own speech rather than someone else’s, especially if you are a foreign minister representing your country for the first time in the United Nations Security Council. Last Friday, India’s foreign minister, S.M. Krishna, started reading the official statement of Portugal’s foreign minister. Actually, he didn’t just start but he went on for a good three and a half minutes, noting his “satisfaction regarding the happy coincidence of having two members of the Portuguese speaking countries addressing the 15-nation council” and commenting on the European Union’s role in peacekeeping operations. After India’s ambassador to the UN pointed out the error, a puzzled Krishna asked: “I have to start all over again?” and proceeded with the Indian speech, starting with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “poverty is the worst form of violence.” (see the video “here”:http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2011/02/security-council-meeting-the-interdependence-between-security-and-development-part-1.html: Krishna begins at 1:08:10 and starts quoting Gandhi at 1:12:05).

Krishna said afterwards that the mistake could have happened to anyone, given the large number of papers in front of him (although you’d think that even a quick glance at the speech would have prevented this gaffe). The Punjabi opposition party BJP was not so kind and “called for Krishna’s resignation”:http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_punjab-bjp-calls-for-sm-krishn-sacking-over-un-faux-pas_1508279.

h/t: “FP’s Turtle Bay blog”:http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/14/indias_foreign_minister_inadvertently_reads_portuguese_statement_at_the_un