news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | September 21, 2014 | 01:22 pm IST

Bangalore: Ahead of the Pope Francis’ visit to India, New Delhi has begun the process of looking for the right ambassador to Switzerland/Holy See to prepare the ground work. Earlier reports said the Pope would come to India in November to time his visit the St. Francis Xavier’s exposition in Goa the same month, but those plans have been shelved. 

The pontiff is expected to visit India in 2015. 

The Holy See which is sovereign over the Vatican City has a presence in India and India’s Ambassador to Switzerland has traditionally been accredited to the Holy See which is a city in Rome, Italy. 

The News Minute (TNM) has learnt that from a shortlist of names has been circulated as part of a process that is not expected to bear any results till the Maharashtra assembly elections conclude on October 15th. The lists include eminent Catholics from India’s southern states including Kerala and Karnataka. 

While a career diplomat is the traditional choice, lateral entry for outsiders is a practice that all political parties in India and around the world promote. Diplomatic positions, like gubernatorial ones, are seen as gifts for allegiance or based on campaign funding in countries where such funding is transparent. 

Bern, the capital of Switzerland is a rest and recreation positing meaning that it is not very high on the diplomatic agenda compared to Beijing, Washington or Berlin and typically comes at the end or the beginning of a person’s diplomatic career. The Pope’s visit may add a new dimension to the selection.

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