Goa CM's gaffe leaves Lisbon fuming

Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat’s office recently conveyed to Portuguese officials that he had no time to meet Portugal’s new Ambassador to India Jorge Roza de Oliveira.

De Oliveira was in Goa a few weeks ago on his first official visit at a time when Lisbon is keen to enhance trade and bilateral investments with India and eager to improve its difficult and often tense relations with Goa.

But Kamat’s protocol gaffe has left the Portuguese seething. “We asked for an appointment a month ahead of the ambassador’s visit, but the chief minister’s office didn’t even bother to reply,” a senior Portuguese envoy told Deccan Herald.  He said this was yet another instance of how Goa seemed unwilling to move forward from the colonial hangover even 50 years after Portugal’s departure. “Our presence in Africa left a bloody imprint. But there is no resentment against us there or in Brazil or East Timor today.”

Bangalore, where Thales Portugal is involved with the Metro project, gave De Oliveira a very warm reception in contrast. In Goa, the envoy met Governor S S Sidhu and Speaker Pratapsingh Rane instead.

Kamat said he wasn’t aware that the Portuguese ambassador was trying to meet him. “No one told me. I was probably busy with my son’s wedding,” he said.
His office confirmed an appointment had been sought, “but the chief minister was too busy for a meeting,” they said.

The Goa chief minister had travelled to Lisbon for the October 5 opening of the Champalimaud Foundation’s Centre for the Unknown, the medical research centre designed by Goan architect Charles Correa.

Officials went out of their way to facilitate Kamat’s meetings with the Portuguese Speaker and culture minister.

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