Ambassador Devyani Khobragade Celebrates Khmer New Year, Reflecting India-Cambodia Cultural Ties

Ambassador Devyani Khobragade

New Delhi: In a vibrant display of cultural appreciation, Indian Ambassador to Cambodia, Devyani Khobragade, captured the hearts of many on social media as she donned the traditional attire of a ‘Khmer Apsara’ to extend New Year greetings to the people of Cambodia. The Indian Embassy in Cambodia showcased the ambassador’s photos on their official social media account, highlighting her profound respect and understanding of Khmer culture and traditions.

The embassy’s post conveyed the ambassador’s sentiments: “Ambassador Devyani Khobragade holds a deep admiration for Khmer culture and tradition. In the spirit of the Khmer New Year, she is elegantly dressed as a Khmer Apsara, symbolizing the strong cultural bond shared between our civilizations. We extend our warmest wishes for a joyous Khmer New Year celebration to all our friends in Cambodia.”

Ambassador Khobragade’s tenure has been marked by her dedication to fostering India’s diplomatic relations across various countries. Since joining the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1999, she has served with distinction in Berlin, New York, Islamabad, and Rome.

Despite her commendable service, Ambassador Khobragade’s diplomatic career faced challenges during her assignment in New York. She was embroiled in a controversy involving allegations of visa fraud and providing ‘false’ statements, leading to her arrest by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York on December 12, 2013. A separate accusation suggested she had underpaid her domestic help, violating U.S. minimum wage laws. Khobragade firmly denied these allegations, deeming them ‘false and baseless.’ The U.S. court later dismissed the charges, recognizing her diplomatic immunity.

Ambassador Devyani Khobragade

The incident prompted a tense period in India-U.S. relations, with India declining to waive Khobragade’s diplomatic immunity, resulting in her return to India. In response to the situation, New Delhi adjusted the privileges afforded to certain U.S. diplomats within India, leading to reciprocal actions from the U.S., including the withdrawal of a diplomat from India.

Despite past controversies, Ambassador Khobragade’s recent gesture of cultural solidarity during the Khmer New Year has been a testament to the enduring and rich ties between India and Cambodia, underscoring the importance of mutual respect and understanding in international relations.