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'Dear Krishna, don't catch the wrong flight!'

Last updated on: February 14, 2011 10:10 IST
S M Krishna

"Dear Krishna, all is forgiven. Don't catch the wrong flight."

This is not a message to the external affairs minister from his boss, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This is what Dr Yum Yum Singh wrote on his Twitter on Sunday while commenting on Krishna's faux pax at the United Nations Security Council on Friday.

At the UNSC meeting, Krishna began reading the wrong speech by inadvertently reading the Portuguese foreign minister's English translation of his text for nearly three minutes, before being corrected by India's envoy to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri. Krishna's mistake made headlines in the media back home and the Pakistani press gleefully played it up.

A lot of traffic was generated on social networking sites since the goof-up became public, with many bloggers poking fun at the expense of the external affairs minister. But others wondered what the fuss was all about.

Obama read Irish PM's speech at UN

Last updated on: February 14, 2011 10:10 IST
US President Barack Obama

After all, many a public figure has committed such gaffes.

United States President Barack Obama began reading the speech of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen at the UN in 2009 after the teleprompter mixed up their speeches.

Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy, now a well-known commentator on foreign affairs, said, "It is a mistake which even Obama has made. It makes good gossip, but more important is what he said in substantive terms. It can happen. Everybody in the Security Council knows that ministers are busy people. It is not an embarrassment for the country."

K Natwar Singh, one of Krishna's predecessors, declined to say anything on the episode. "He has been a friend for 30 years and I would not like to comment," he said.

'There was nothing wrong in it'

Last updated on: February 14, 2011 10:10 IST
A file photo of S M Krishna with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Krishna himself described the incident as unfortunate, adding, "There was nothing wrong in it."

"There were so many papers spread in front of me. So, by mistake, the wrong speech was taken out," he explained.

"Unfortunately, it happened," he said, noting that many of these speeches contain the same thing in the first paragraph, which is to convey greetings to the country presiding over the Security Council.

India has secured the rotating non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for a two-year period from January 1 after nearly two decades.